Local Business Spotlight: Southwest Bicycle
This month we are speaking with Dan Houghton, owner of Southwest Bicycle. This local bicycle repair shop has been serving everyone from families and recreational cyclists to hardcore commuters in Southwest Portland since 2007.
Phil: How long have you owned Southwest Bicycle?
Dan: The bike shop has a long history in Multnomah Village. It was called Multnomah Bike Shop before and had many owners over the years. I’ve been working on and racing bikes my whole life. The first bike shop I worked at was in 1978. It was called The Bike Route. I got into building custom wheels and was known as “The Wheel Guy”. Eventually, I started working as the chief mechanic for professional race teams and I met the four guys that worked and owned Multnomah Bike Shop. Back then they were more interested in only building really high-end race bikes so a lot of customers got turned away if they weren’t spending big money on nice bikes. The owners ended up splitting up and going their own ways which gave me the opportunity to acquire the shop. When I took over I changed things like focusing more on customer service and we’ve been going strong ever since.
Phil: There are so many types of bicycles and riding these days, is there a style or consumer you specialize in?
Dan: We love working with recreational riders, like families, and the “Commuter” cyclist. Some Commuters are fair-weather riders and some are hardcore; riding in any kind of weather year-round. We offer great service and maintenance to bike owners of all kinds though. We like to help Commuters (or anyone else) with supplies, tools, and advice to service their own bikes. Doing some work on their own helps the bike last longer, work better and saves money. We have a small retail space in the shop but we have so many returning clients with maintenance requests that we spend a lot of time focused on servicing them. I also still love building custom wheels for racers, commuters, and anyone else that needs their wheels to last longer than an average production wheel.
Phil: Who is the skeleton out front of the shop?
Dan: That’s Karl The Bike Riding Skeleton. A customer wanted to sell me the tall bike he sits on. I said no, so the guy just gave it to me. A few years ago on Halloween, I bought Karl to ride the bike and now he is a neighborhood fixture. People love to take pictures with him; one neighbor even knitted him a hat!
Phil: Anything you would like the community to know?
Dan: I’m really glad to be a part of the Southwest Portland community here. I strive to provide as good of value as I can, all the time, and I think the community here has seen that over the years. So thank you for the support. I also want to remind everyone to bring their bikes in now for a tune-up so they’re not waiting a long time to get their bikes back come the Spring!
Southwest Bicycle is at 4450 SW Garden Home Rd, Portland. 503.246.0333 - More info at SWBicycle.com