Trails important to businesses

2013-05-26T00:00:00Z 2013-05-26T12:35:48Z Trails important to businessesChas Reilly, (219) 662-5324

In addition to providing residents with recreation and fitness opportunities, Northwest Indiana bike trails can help local businesses stay healthy.

The Trek Bicycle Store in Schererville sits along the Pennsy Greenway Trail.

Some people use the parking lot at the store to access the trail, which can increase traffic at the business, said Paul Jellema, sales manager and event coordinator at Trek, 651 E. U.S. 30.

"It's outstanding for business," Jellema said of the bike trails.

Trek also uses bike trails for many its events that are open to the public.

Every Monday, Trek staff members lead a casual paced ride from the store to Crown Brewery in Crown Point. The route for the ride is 90 percent bike trail.

After arriving at Crown Brewery, Trek provides the first pint of beer for each participant.

On the first and third Saturdays of each month, Trek has a ride to Grindhouse Cafe in Griffith. That ride also is 90 percent bike path. Free breakfast is provided after riders arrive at Grindhouse.

Having events in which the routes are primarily on bike trails can encourage less-skilled riders to participate, Jellema said.

The group rides also help promote other businesses in the area, he said.

Jellema said Trek's events regularly attract many riders.

Roger Walsworth, who owns Buck's Bicycle Shop, 610 Silhavy Road in Valparaiso, also is pleased with the various bike trails in the area.

"All the trails help business," he said.

Walsworth said he thinks the trails have increased the popularity of biking in Northwest Indiana, especially for families.

Walsworth and Jellema each said sales at their stores have been good this year.

They indicated it's hard to compare this year's sales with business from 2012 because temperatures started to get warmer earlier last year, which had a large boost in bike sales at the shops.

"Last year was a big exception," Jellema said.

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