Sturgeon Bay’s west side will sport one less empty storefront this spring, after the owners of Nor Door Sport & Cyclery expand their business. For the last 28 years, the Merkel family has operated Nor Door Sport & Cyclery in Fish Creek. They expanded that store four years ago, and now Brian “Stretch” Merkel is ready to expand again.
For the last year and a half, Merkel has been researching, planning and crunching the numbers to determine if a Sturgeon Bay store would be a worthwhile venture. Since Door County Bikes on Third Avenue went out of business, cyclists must travel to Fish Creek, or take their business to Green Bay – an inconvenience, especially for diehard cyclists. This opening showed Merkel a need for a Sturgeon Bay store, as has the extremely positive response from Sturgeon Bay residents.
“I was waiting for the Michigan Street bridge to re-open,” Merkel said. “The convenience of having traffic from both bridges helped clarify my decision. There’s an opportunity there to supply the southern part of the county with the quality product and service we’ve been known for, for the past 28 years.”
Finding the right location was key, and the city’s west side provided an opportunity on the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and Oak Street (across the street from Sonny’s Pizzeria and Zoerb’s Paint Store), a building recently purchased by Mitch Larson, owner of On Deck Clothing Store. Larson is hard at work remodeling the building inside and out.
“When (Larson) does it, he does it nice,” Merkel said of Larson’s building remodels. Larson has remodeled all three of his On Deck Clothing stores, first in Fish Creek, then in Sturgeon Bay at the old Donna Theater, and most recently the former Bunda store in Sister Bay. He makes a concerted effort to restore building facades to match or reflect the feel of surrounding buildings.
Merkel is fixing up the inside with a basic facelift, including new paint and floors. As for the new store layout, representatives from cycling retailer Trek helped. The new store will feature brand names Trek, Fisher, Pearl Izumi, Nike and Saris.
“We’re going to offer the same products and quality of service in Sturgeon Bay as in Fish Creek,” Merkel said. “We anticipate that we’ll grow with the needs, adapt to the needs, of our Sturgeon Bay customers. We now will have the buying power to buy in volume, so we can give customers the best prices and best selection possible. We’ll also be able to get merchandise from store to store in 24 hours.”
While it’s good news for Sturgeon Bay to have one less empty storefront, it’s even better news that Nor Door Sport & Cyclery in Sturgeon Bay will be creating new jobs – three, not including Merkel. The jobs will include a full time, year round manager, and two seasonal positions. The Fish Creek store employs eight people during the busy season. Merkel will split his time between Fish Creek and Sturgeon Bay to make sure the city store’s first season runs at the best level of service possible. The Sturgeon Bay store will offer bicycle rentals in the summer, and cross country ski and snowshoe sales and rental in the winter. There’s also the possibility Nor Door Sport & Cyclery will offer their indoor cycling classes in Sturgeon Bay after the store is up and running smoothly.
“It’s going to be a curious summer,” Merkel said, pondering the hours he will put into the new store.
Nor Door Sport & Cyclery – Sturgeon Bay is slated to open in mid-May, with a Grand Opening on Memorial Day weekend. For more information, call 920.868.2275.