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Benchmark bicycle shop keeps Greer on the go

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Saturday, March 19, 2016

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Benjamin Griswold, Benjamin Schwoe and Tiana Cain (right) are the owners of the Benchmark Bicycle Supply Co. Griswold's wife, left, and the business partners had a euphoric ribbon cutting and grand opening on Friday.

Jim Fair

Benjamin Griswold, Benjamin Schwoe and Tiana Cain (right) are the owners of the Benchmark Bicycle Supply Co. Griswold's wife, left, and the business partners had a euphoric ribbon cutting and grand opening on Friday.



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Tiana Cain holds an autographed poster by George Hincappie signed for Mayor Rick Danner. The poster is on loan at the Benchmark.
 

Jim Fair

Tiana Cain holds an autographed poster by George Hincappie signed for Mayor Rick Danner. The poster is on loan at the Benchmark.

 



Enlarge photo

Bicyclists met outside the Benchmark Friday.
 

Jim Fair

Bicyclists met outside the Benchmark Friday.

 

There’s little better endorsement of a bicycle shop opening than the town’s mayor and chamber president/CEO riding their bikes to the grand opening.

That’s how Mayor Rick Danner and Chamber of Commerce President Mark Owens arrived at the Benchmark Bicycle Supply Co. ribbon cutting and grand opening Friday at 207 Randall Street.

“We are a full service bike shop and independent bicycle dealer,” said Benjamin Griswold one of the trio of owners with Benjamin Schowe and Tiana Cain. “We can service any type of bike and we can sell any kind, from a $250 bike, to mid-range bikes to ones in thousands, if customers want.”

Griswold said, “We’re not trying to put ourselves in a corner that we’re a high end shop. We’re not high end, we just like nice things.”

Store hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and, “we riding our bikes on Sunday,” Griswold said.

Griswold said part of the mission for Benchmark will be educating the community on its service but also its nutritional products.

“We also want people to come visit and hang out while their bike is being repaired and walk around town and get a bite to eat,” Griswold said.

Schowe said placing the bike shop in Greer “was purposeful. We just didn’t luck into downtown Greer. We looked for a place we could fit in. Demographically it has a lot of great options, too many for us not to stay here.

“Above and beyond we have had the community and downtown businesses support,” said Schowe. “We want to serve what people want here and what we didn’t see in this community. The demographics have backed us up.”

Benchmark comes to Greer at a time that the Partnership for Tomorrow’s next 15-year plan puts a premium on walking and bike trails. The City Council approved a proclamation earlier this year signaling its plan to adopt connectivity through the community with the initiative.

The bike shop’s location, with the White House Salon at the corner of School Street, brings Randall Street into play expanding the central business district’s boundary. “Hopefully we will have some destination appeal,” Schowe said.

Cain joining the partnership proved to be the missing piece of the puzzle. She runs ultra marathons (any distance more than a marathon 26.2 miles and less than 100 miles). Training for one of her 55 run do date connected her and Schowe. A mishap while bicycling brought her and Schowe together to have her bike repaired.

“Tiana came into our group of friends and as we talked about our plan to open a bike shop, she said she liked it and wanted to see it on paper,” Schowe said.

There was no business plan in place until Cain developed it, added the demographics and put a financial plan in place. “We have our bike knowledge and Tiana has of lot of other knowledge that helps us out with the business,” Schowe said. “It was a piece of the puzzle that gave us an outside viewpoint.”

 

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