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Business

Drawing Strength from Its Past, Hazard’s Cyclesport Ready to Shift Gears for the Future

Rolling along toward its 100th anniversary, Santa Barbara bike shop pedals forward with community connections

A black-and-white picture of cyclists racing around Santa Barbara’s old Velodrome track hangs in Hazard’s Cyclesport.

When a 20-something customer walked in, he couldn’t take his eyes off it.

“Oh, my God, that’s my grandpa,” he said.

Hazard’s Cyclesport, 110 Anacapa St., has thrived in bike-friendly Santa Barbara for 97 years. It’s the seventh-oldest bike shop in the nation.

“(The customer) came back with that same photo his dad had,” said owner Bruce Davis, who bought the store 20 years ago. “It’s neat to have that history, that heritage and connection in Santa Barbara.”

Davis credits the community for the shop’s success.

“There’s a little pressure,” he said. “We’re going to be 100 years old and we have to keep this legacy I inherited going.

“We owe it all to the community.”

Davis has shown his appreciation through sponsoring cycling clubs, various sporting events and alliances with organizations like the Santa Barbara Police Department’s tactical division, UCSB’s triathlon and road racing teams, Safe Routes to School and Moms in Motion.

“I take a lot of pride in being a part of this town,” Davis said.

Twenty-five years ago, the a Santa Barbara-native and active cyclist joked to a friend who owned Hazard’s and Mac’s that he could take the stores off his hands if need be. One day that call came.

Davis learned the mechanics of bike repair and the day-to-day operations of running the business. He first bought Mac’s and purchased Hazard’s in 1992; two years later, Davis closed Mac’s and moved Hazard’s to its current location from Chapala Street.

“There’s not much in Santa Barbara that can lay claim to (a history like that),” said Steve Ainsley, president and publisher of Miller-McCune magazine and one of five local business executives who recently formed an advisory board to help Hazard’s increase its community connections and advance business.

“There are a lot of institutions that claim to be 100 years old but the business has changed,” he added. “Here’s a bike store that was one in 1914 and, my goodness, it has the same name! Bike stores typically come and go and this one, for a variety of reasons, has withstood the test of time.”

Davis said he has competed with discounted online prices by offering quality customer service.

“There’s a lot of personality in this store,” he said. “We listen to the customer and bring in things they recommend.”

It’s a personality that matches Santa Barbara, Ainsley said.

“(Santa Barbara) looks and feels exactly the same (as years ago),” he said. “The community works hard at that. Santa Barbara tries to maintain a certain feel, and if there is ever a community where a small business like Hazard’s can thrive, it’s here.”

Noozhawk business writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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