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Brawley gets a bike shop

November 10, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — Tucked away in the 500 block of Main Street is a new business you might miss if you were driving up and down the busy street and didn't know to look for it.

The Brawley Bike Shop, at 540 Main St., opened Sept. 1 — the first full-service bike shop in North County in recent history.

The shop is a work in progress, but everything about it already says "Brawley," from the name of the business to the blue and gold color scheme.

"I went with the Brawley High School colors to keep the camaraderie of the city," said owner Debbi Abatti, who also owns BB Bikes in the Vons shopping center in Calexico.

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Abatti said she decided to open a bike shop in Brawley because while there are some bike shops in the South County, there has been no such business in the North County.

She said with Christmas around the corner, she decided now would be a good time to see if the North County would support such a business. She thinks the community can and will.

"You buy a bike from a department store. Those bikes need to be maintained," she said, adding The Brawley Bike Shop will provide maintenance and repair services while selling a full range of new bikes, from racing bikes to mountain bikes to cruisers and road bikes.

Abatti said if she does not have a bike or part in stock, she can order it and have it to the customer within two days.

"I'm here for the working people," Abatti said, adding as of next week the shop will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 or 6 p.m. seven days a week. She added as the Christmas season gets closer, her shop will stay open as late as 10 p.m. if necessary.

She added if she is planning to close at 6 p.m. but a customer cannot make it in by that time; if the person let's her know she will stay open until the customer can get there.

Abatti said she is going to have a co-owner of BB Bikes so she can give her full attention to the Brawley store.

She said there will be a mechanic on duty when needed for repair work, but she can do basic tire repairs. She said when a customer comes in with a flat or tweaked tire, she can repair it on the spot.

While she has only been in the bike business for a year — before that she was a state prison correctional sergeant — she said her knowledge of bikes has grown in the past year.

"I'm a quick study," she said of her abilities.

Abatti, who while being interviewed sat next to a 6 foot 6 inch BMX national racing trophy her son won in 1998, recalled when she had a customer whose bike had been hit by a car.

A tire rim was severely damaged and no one thought it could be repaired. Abatti said she managed to repair the rim, and it only cost the customer $5.

"It gives you self-satisfaction when you have done something like that," she said, adding, "I want my customers to be happy and I want them to come back."

The Brawley Bike Shop is meant to be accessible to youth. For that reason people will be allowed to bring their bikes into the shop, even if they are just there to look around. Inside the entrance of the shop is a bike stand.

There is parking in the back of the business for pick-ups and drop-offs.

Abatti said she is going to offer a 15 percent discount for youths in the American Bike Association. In December she will be sending out flyers that will include a 10 percent discount coupon.

The shop will offer a full line of Fox bike clothing and Abatti is working to diversify the business. In the near future she plans to offer a line of World Industries skateboards.

Abatti, who was raised in Sacramento and has lived in the Imperial Valley since 1992, said being a part of the community is important to her.

She served on the county grand jury for two years, one year as foreman, and was on the junior livestock auction committee that has put together the annual auction book for five year.

She said it is important for people to see her at the bike shop and to know she is there for the community.

"I am my own reputation," she said.

To contact the shop call 344-4430.

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