David Langworthy is greasing the wheels of his bicycle business with a move to a new, more visible location on Washington Avenue.
DL Bike Shop has relocated from its former spot in the North Shore Travel Plaza along Highway 10 East, where it first opened in 2013, into the southernmost storefront of the new Norby Flats development downtown. The new location opened June 14.
“We were closed for one day,” Langworthy says of how quick the move went. “We were still setting the new store up for the first couple of weeks after we were open. There were a lot of late nights. Now, I’d say we’re about 90 percent complete.”
The shop is the first to open in the still-under-construction Norby Flats. The development is a complete remodel of the former Norby’s Department Store, which closed its doors last summer after 112 years of business. The historic building is being refurbished back into a mix of retail stores on the main level and apartment spaces above.
“It went really smooth,” says Jim Buus, one of the Norby Flats developers, commenting on the bike shop’s move. “We are extremely excited for them.”
Once the rest of the Norby Flats remodeling project is done, which should be within the next few months, a glass door will be built into a wall of the bike shop to adjoin it with the retail space next door. There will also be a common hallway and shared bathroom area in the back of the building.
Parking is available on the street or in the lot behind the building, and the bike shop has a rear door in addition to the main front entrance. The back parking lot is also available for customers to ‘test drive’ bikes.
Langworthy says things have been going well at the new spot. He’s already getting more foot traffic than before, and seeing some new customers, due to the greater exposure the shop gets along the beaten path downtown.
“There’s people that live in Detroit Lakes that still don’t know there’s a bike shop — they just never got out to the east end of town,” he says. “So there’s an opportunity for increased visibility and new customers here.”
DL Bike Shop sells high-quality Trek and Electra brand bicycles as well as bike parts, accessories, clothing and other gear. The shop also offers bike rentals, plus full service and repairs for almost any type of bike.
Fans of the shop will be happy to know that the services and inventory they’ve come to expect haven’t changed due to the new location. In fact, Langworthy says he’ll likely be adding more retail products as a result of the move, such as additional clothing and gear options.
The shop has a neo-industrial motif, with both modern and historical design touches inside and out. The look features exposed brick and steel gutters, a wall of corrugated steel, an old tin ceiling, and new glass windows and glass door in the front.
“The aesthetics of this shop are quite different than what we had,” Langworthy says. “They (the developers) gave us a lot of latitude on the design, within reason.”
He says there have been a number of former Norby’s employees who have stopped in to see how it looks now.
“This was the men’s section,” he recalls of the area of the department store that is now his shop. “I remember it. There were dressing rooms, and a wall of jeans.”
Now, it’s a wall of bikes.
This is Langworthy’s seventh summer of owning the DL Bike Shop. His interest in bikes started when he was a young boy. Growing up in a small farming town in southern Minnesota, he learned early on how to fix his own bike when something would go wrong. Then later, in his teen years, putting bikes together was a requirement of his job at a Coast to Coast hardware store.
He moved to Detroit Lakes as an adult, and for 27 years, he worked in emergency medical services at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s. His interest in bikes never stopped, and he eventually began running a small shop out of his garage at home. When “the timing felt right,” he says, he changed careers and opened the DL Bike Shop.
Today, Langworthy employs five part-timers in addition to himself. His goal is to always have a friendly face greeting walk-ins, even as he’s busy repairing bikes in the back, so at the new location there’s almost always a second employee at the store with him.
The business has seen steady growth over the years, he says, and he’s hoping to continue taking that ride well into the future.