Woolley G’s Bike and Fitness will move this week to the next chapter in its 48 year history.
The bike shop will close Saturday at its location on U.S. 259 and remain closed the following week while it moves to its new home in downtown Longview the following week. The shop, which sells and services bikes as well as bike accessories and nutritional products, plans to open March 7 at 306 E. Tyler St.
The new location is 5,000 square feet compared with 3,000 square feet on U.S. 259.
“We tried to keep the building as original as possible,” said Gary Ford, who owns Woolley G’s with David Townsend and David Hernandez.
He said there wasn’t much left of the original building, but they’ve removed plaster to expose and then clean the brick walls. They also extended the building, which was damaged when a train derailed decades ago, back to its original footprint. Concrete floors were polished, and the ceiling was left open so the exposed rafters are visible along with the heating and air conditioning ducts, Ford said, similar to Silver Grizzly Espresso at the other end of Tyler Street.
The move fulfills a goal of Ford’s, who has been a longtime downtown supporter.
“My goal when we bought the business a couple of years ago was to move it down there,” to downtown Longview and “capitalize on the awesome things” happening there.
It also moves the business to a more central location, Ford said.
“Being out north — it’s nice for being able to buy a bike and hop on it and go for a ride, but we felt like we weren’t servicing the community, being way out there,” Ford said. The new downtown location will move Woolley G’s to a central location, closer to more people and closer to more people who use bicycles for their transportation, he said.
Woolley G’s bought its new home about 18 months ago. The rest of the building has a separate owner, with renovations underway for a new location for Cace Kitchen.
“We hope to further enhance all the good things that are happening downtown,” Ford said, and he hopes his business’ renovation encourages other building owners to make improvements to downtown buildings that could use some TLC.
Woolley G’s currently is closed on Mondays, but hours will expand after the move. When it opens downtown, Woolley G’s will be open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and Saturday hours will continue for now from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.