Keeping the Davis community healthy, mobile and enjoying the outdoors is the goal of married couple Ken and Pat Bradford, owners of Ken’s Bike-Ski-Board at 650 G St., Davis.
After 26 years in the family business, at this time, only Ken works there, but some of the kids have worked there in the past, and one launched a career in the bicycle business from that experience.
People are often surprised by how long the business has been part of the community, Ken says. “Because of our ‘hidden’ location, we are frequently asked ‘How long have you been here?’ or even,’Are you new?’ The answer is that the Ski side of the business has been operating in Davis since 1974 and the Bike side since 1980 – while the combination of Bike & Ski (and now, Snowboard) has been here in this building (a former ice cream parlor) under the same ownership since September 1988!”
The Bradfords care about their customers and get to know many of them as friends, Ken says. “And because we ride our bikes too, we often recognize them riding around town on bikes we’ve sold them or fixed for them and say ‘Hi’ — getting out of your car and onto your bike makes Davis a friendlier place. Some of our ski and snowboard staff have even been known to take regular customers ‘up the hill’ to teach them how to use their purchases!”
The business has a new line of bikes: Brooklyn Bicycle Company. “Functional Davis vehicles with clean, simple, “retro” classic lines, the BKCs get you around town in style without breaking the bank,” Ken says.
“And we have a new Bicycle Service Manager. Tim moved to Portland (like a lot of our former staff) and Nic has taken over his duties in the Bike Shop. Besides being one of the best and most thorough bike mechanics we’ve ever met and a very strong rider (road, mountain and commuter), Nic is amazingly friendly and helpful with any kind of repair or custom build. Come on in and meet Nic today!”
As far as the future of the business goes, E-bikes (electric-motor-assisted bikes) are coming on strong, as are commuter bikes in general, Ken says, adding that the participation rate of valley dwellers in winter snowsports continues to drop. “That could change, and we still enjoy ‘all of the above’ so we’ll continue to monitor trends and adjust our product and service mix accordingly. And while we may have to move (our lease is running out and we’re unsure of the building’s owners’ plans) we will definitely still be here somewhere in Davis, providing great service and great values on wonderful products to our community!”
There are many paths taken to end up running a successful sports store. “My path involved lots of experience working in service-based businesses, from restaurant to automotive, then several years working in and managing various bike shops … lots of time in seminars, reports and dealer forums (many provided by the National Bicycle Dealers Association, for which I am now a board member) have given valuable on-the-job training.
“We welcome everyone who wants to ride a bike (or slide down a snowy slope). We don’t cater just to enthusiasts, or just to beginners, or just to one age group or gender — Ken’s staff is small enough to be friendly, but big enough to reflect the diversity and excitement of our community, and equipped to help every rider!”