Race Pace Bicycles is not a nationally known retail icon, but the 38-year-old bike shop has thrived by modeling itself after such stores.
“We want the experience for the customer who walks into Race Pace to be the same they would get at another high-end retail environment — a Nordstrom’s, for example,” says general manager Nik Obriecht. “Professional, clean, a place where they feel very comfortable and have a great experience.
“And the one thing that really differentiates us is we have an extremely veteran staff with a deep knowledge of the business and know how to take care of customers.”
Obriecht, 34, is the son of Race Pace Bicycles founder Alex Obriecht. The elder Obriecht, now the company president, opened his first bike shop in the front two rooms of a rowhouse, not long after he graduated from Towson State University with a degree in business and a love of sports and the outdoors.
He’s had the usual ups and downs, but far more ups than downs. Today, Race Pace includes five stores in the Baltimore area, including the newest in Ellicott City, opened two years ago, and one in Columbia, extensively remodeled this fall.
Two more shops are expected to open next year, says Nik, including one in Charles Village and another in Towson.
“We strive to be tip-top,” he says. “We try to elevate our industry, not just be a mom-and-pop store. Though, of course, my dad is a pop.”
3258 Bethany Lane, Ellicott City 410-461-7878
6925 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia 410-290-6880