Kokopelli Bike and Board has renovated a historic building in Dolores into a full-service bike and rental shop.
Owners Scott Darling and Pete Eschallier have an established bike shop on Main Street in Cortez, and jumped at the opportunity to open one in the mountain biking haven up the highway.
“The location in Dolores is perfect, all the stars aligned, and we are super-happy to be here,” Darling said.
The business partners purchased the historic, 4,600 square-foot Exon Mercantile building at 315 Central Ave. across from the Dolores River Brewery. It was divided into the new Kokopelli Bike and Board shop on one side, and a retail rental on the other, which is available.
Winter hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. They can be reached at 970-676-0060.
The spacious bike shop features full-service repair, mountain and road bikes, electric bikes, BMX, and bike accessories and clothing. They sell stand-up boards and river surfing boards as well, and do ski and snowboard tuning. Rentals are available.
Dolores is known for its mountain biking trail network in the adjacent Boggy Draw area of the San Juan National Forest. The trails rolling through the foothills favor beginner and intermediate riders and are ideal for families and casual riders.
Tapping into the growing market was a “no-brainer,” Darling said. “Having a nice bike shop close to nice trails helps everyone. It makes the community stronger.”
He has noticed an increased interest in Dolores as a mountain biking destination.
“For the longest time, people were discovering Phil’s World in Cortez. Now we get more people asking about the Boggy Draw trails in Dolores,” he said.
Tapping into the tourism market is another motivation. For example, there has been an increase in RV parks in the area, which caters to a demographic that enjoys cycling.
Renovating the historic building built in 1904 was its own adventure. It began as a mercantile for the ranching, timber and railroad activities in Dolores. In more recent decades, the building housed was the Traditional Charm Antique Mall.
An effort was made to highlight historic features, such as the walk-in cooler that used blocks of ice cut from the Dolores River. The ceiling track where sides of beef were hung by the butcher remains. The Exon Mercantile sign on the front of the building will be kept.
A freight elevator that operates with a series of weights and cables still operates to access basement storage.
The original wood floors were restored, electric and plumbing were upgraded. Old wall paper was peeled back to reveal nicely preserved wood paneling.
Like all bike shops, Kokopelli is challenged by supply chain interruptions because of the pandemic, which will likely continue.
After waiting for a year, Kokopelli finally received a freight delivery of new bikes, and inventory has improved. Availability of bike frames has rebounded, but accessories are harder to find as factories in Asia are shut down or not operating a full capacity.
“It is a tough spot, the pandemic got more people into biking, but inventory availability has not fully recovered yet,” Darling said.
When the world economy stabilizes, Kokopelli is positioned to feed the growing biking culture in the region.
“The community has come together to make Dolores a biking town, and we’re excited to be a part of it,” Darling said.