Steve Lubanski appreciates the “wow factor” customers experience when they enter his newly relocated Open Road Bicycle Shop in Altadena.
He worked hard to achieve that reaction — when customers walk in they are greeted by uniform rows of shiny road bikes and mountain bikes, most of which are Italian-made Bianchis with a unique celeste color. Other bikes are displayed on risers throughout the shop, and bike frames are hung neatly above the enclosed work area where Lubanski spends much of his time.
But the star attraction of the new shop at 2605 Lake Ave. is the 45-foot-long clothing carousel that winds its way from the center of the sales floor up to the ceiling before making a sharp right turn and circling back down again.
“It came from a surplus place in Texas,” Lubanski said. “It’s a used dry cleaner’s carousel that’s been refurbished.”
The carousel’s unique upward trajectory was custom designed to fit the confines of his new 3,000-square-foot shop.
“It’s like a Tinker Toy, so you can kind of put the rods in different places,” Lubanski explained. “I gave them the measurements — the height of the ceiling, the distance between the joists and the length of the run.”
The carousel is stocked with 1,200 individual pieces of clothing, including men’s and women’s long- and short-sleeved jerseys, as well as shorts, jackets, windbreakers and thermal wear. And he’s still got 500 additional pieces of clothing in stock.
“We have the most clothes of any bike shop in the nation, without a doubt,” he said.
CUSTOMERS GET TO PUSH THE BUTTON
And the best part? Customers who eye a shirt or jacket they like get to activate the carousel and watch it bring the item down. Lubanski explains it this way:
“This is one of the primal urges of the American male between the age of 30 and 60 — to go and push the button,” he said. “They never got to as a kid but when you come in here you get to push the button. And your children can come push the button … and your grandchildren can push the button.”
Lubanski figures his shop is in a prime spot because McDonald’s had been considering that location for a restaurant, although the company later backed out when it learned it would not be able to include a drive-through.