A passion for pedaling: Gorrells are Folsom’s First Family of CyclingBy: Bill Sullivan, Associate Publisher
When Wilson and Erin Gorrell came up with the idea of opening a full service bike shop in the midst of a recession in 2009, many thought they had lost their minds to leave their every day jobs to take on such a financially challenging endeavor.
As Amgen returns to Folsom on Friday and Folsom Bike edges towards its 10th anniversary, this community now knows one thing, when the Gorrells take on a challenge, they do so with success in their sights and a plan to overcome every hurdle along the way. Today, they operate the largest locally-owned bike shop in Northern California. Locally, they have played a big role in bringing cycling to the forefront in Folsom, from assisting with local events to helping draw profile events like this week’s Amgen Tour of California.
After living in the Folsom area for several years, the couple that has somewhat become Folsom’s “first family” in the world of cycling, felt there was something missing in the Folsom area. They strongly believed this heavily invested cycling community needed a new approach to help take cycling to the next level. Their vision was taking things back to the simplicity of genuine and exceptional customer service.
“We feel our business is all about the people. Cycling is about community,” Erin said. “We wanted to provide a community bike shop for all levels of cyclists.”
Nine years later, the Gorrells have bike shop locations in both Folsom and El Dorado Hills, a cycling-themed coffee shop known as Folsom Grind that now serves wine, beer and eats. Despite the growth, their original vision of customer service and community involvement is still their number one priority.
With strong backgrounds in business, both Wilson and Erin were confident going into the business that their passion for cycling and community would lead them to success. They pride themselves on providing a service to the community that operates as the “Nordstrom of Bike Shops, but the Cheers – where everyone knows your name” mentality. It was important to them to create a very aesthetically pleasing store that had competitive pricing, but have the community aspect of the Cheers mentality that you were friends for life….they know you by your first name.
“Our mission is to inspire our customers to be passionate about bikes by providing them with the best products in the industry; to have service that stands up to these exceptional products and compliment them with our own passion for bikes,” Erin said. “We believe a bike shop should be fun. By creating a fun atmosphere and hiring fun people who are passionate and knowledgeable about cycling, we think you’ll enjoy it more each time you visit.”
Folsom Bike often refers to what they call a bike’s journey that ranges from selecting, purchasing and building the perfect bike. That journey ultimately ends when it’s purchased by their customers or serviced by their technicians and a new journey begins for the cyclist.
“Representing a bicycle’s complex story is a job that’s both humbling and honorable. We firmly believe in properly training our staff to become educated and experienced ambassadors about cycling and that our customers should always be served with care and a smile,” reads part of Folsom Bike’s mission statement. “We believe that customer service is key and that our customers appreciate our inner bike nerd.”
When it comes to being ambassadors of the cycling community, the Gorrells are second to none. They have been involved with the growth of cycling in Folsom since their opened their doors – from engagement with the city on the growth and the development of the vast trail system that Folsom is known for to assisting with bringing Amgen to the Folsom community for its third visit this week.
Last year, the Gorrells saw a dream come true along with the City of Folsom with the opening of the Johnny Cash Trail, a project that they were very much involved with, from the planning stages to the promotion and sponsorship of the many events that have surrounded it.
In addition to the community support when it comes to Folsom’s cycling amenities, the Gorrells and the entire staff have been engaged in the community when it comes to educating riders from little tykes to veteran riders in their senior years. They offer numerous organized rides, team events and workshops throughout the year, all of which can be found through their website at folsombike.com or by simply paying them a visit.