Belgianwerkx Bicycle Studio has changed hands from Bill Koehler to John W. Miller, founder of Milwaukee-based venture capital firm, Arenberg Holdings. The sale, according to a press release, was finalized on Dec. 31.
I emailed Miller, who claimed status as an avid cyclist, to find out more.
"To say that I'm a cycling fan would be an understatement," he said. "I ride road, mountain bike and cyclocross – and have a stable of bikes to prove it!"
Considering his history of investing in small, exciting start-ups, I approached Miller about his plans for the shop, which opened in 2013 to support road and cyclocross racers at 10802 N. Port Washington Rd. in Mequon.
"Although this isn't a traditional start-up, I still plan to apply some of the strategies I had employed with early-stage companies as well as the 115-year-old company that I ran," he said.
"While I won't be involved with the day-to-day operation of the shop, I will be very hands on with executing a strategic plan to grow the business."
Does growing the business entail more shops or a diversified sports product line?
"Cycling will always be the primary purpose of the shop," he explained. "I want to address the needs of a specific sector of the market – namely serious cycling aficionados. Additional locations are always possible, but the immediate plan is to build upon the current location and customer base the shop has cultivated in the past six years."
And what about the support the shop has provided for its namesake racing teams?
"Bike racing is in my blood," Miller said. "I raced in the early '90s and have attended races all over the world. I plan to remain heavily involved with the Belgianwerkx Cycling Team and the races they support, such as the Giro d'Grafton and Pumpkin Cross.
"I'm absolutely thrilled to continue the great tradition of custom bike sales and world class service here at Belgianwerkx. It's been a dream of mine to own a bike shop since I got my first job at 15 years old working in my hometown bike store."
In addition to staying put in its current location, Belgianwerkx store manager Nick Moroder and sales associate Amber Shesler will continue in their respective roles.
"I’ve been a customer of Belgianwerkx, and what has always distinguished Nick and his staff is their unmatched customer service and deep knowledge and passion for cycling," added Miller in the release.
"Nick and I worked hard to grow the shop, and I’m happy to hand over the reins to John to keep the momentum going," said Koehler, who will focus his energies on growing his financial advisor business at Charles Schwab in Mequon.
Jason McDowell grew up in central Iowa and moved to Milwaukee in 2000 to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
In 2006 he began working with OnMilwaukee as an advertising designer, but has since taken on a variety of rolls as the Creative Director, tackling all kinds of design problems, from digital to print, advertising to branding, icons to programming.
In 2016 he picked up the 414 Digital Star of the Year award.
Most other times he can be found racing bicycles, playing board games, or petting dogs.