Selling the great outdoors

Cycle Solutions is all about active living, all year long

Diane Crocker
Published on April 12, 2014
Corner Brook businessman Pete Ollerhead in his Cycle Solutions store on West Street. He also owns Brewed — popular coffee shops at two locations. — Photo by Diane Crocker/The Western Star

It just makes sense that someone passionate about cycling would start a cycling business
Pete Ollerhead started Cycle Solutions in Corner Brook 2003.

“The wheels started whirling, I guess,” he said, sitting near the front window of the West Street store and keeping a watchful eye on the floor.

The business started as cycling sales and service, but over the years has evolved to offer a range of Nordic skiing products, snowshoes and apparel for those outdoor pursuits.

Ollerhead, 32, ran the business as a partnership with Gord Andrews until 2006 when Andrews decided to pursue other ventures.

Right from the beginning, though, it’s been about more than business for Ollerhead.

“It’s a chosen life,” he said.

He’s a competitive bike racer, a provincial coach and mechanic, heavy into Nordic skiing and enjoys snowshoeing.

His interest in cycling  goes back to his teenage years and a time when his family moved around a lot. For him, cycling was an escape.

“It just made me happy, and to this day nothing makes me more content than riding. And I just really genuinely want to see other people have that sort of feeling when they get involved with sport.”

That’s why raising the educational value of athletics — including cycling, active living, Nordic skiing, and snowshoeing — is important to him.

“When people kind of realize they can do it, and it is fun, and it’s not intimidating, then it helps build involvement,” he said.

“Nothing makes me more happy than getting someone on a bike or on skis. I really love getting someone involved in active living because I know, certainly, what it’s done for me in my lifetime.”

Over the years, he’s organized group rides, races and Friday night snowshoe events.

And his efforts have paid off, as both the business and the activities he organizes have developed a following, not only in the community, but outside.

“We just try to be genuine about what we do and we are sincere about our interest in the industry,” he said.

“I think that respect is out there and it becomes more apparent and that helps our reputation, and I think in small areas, especially rural areas, that goes a long way.”

To help carry that over, Ollerhead has ambassadors in the central area and an employee in St. John’s who provides service to the many customers there.

He also believes that part of being successful in business requires being innovative.

And while he may not be reinventing the wheel, for Ollerhead that has meant expanding into other ventures.

In 2007 he opened a coffee shop, Brewed Awakening, in the same building as Cycle Solutions.

“So Brewed was an interest of mine growing up in the arts world,” he said. “But it was a scene that wasn’t prevalent in Corner Brook in 2007.”

However, Ollerhead felt it would be a good addition to the city and in no time it became a popular spot, offering a variety of freshly brewed coffees made from beans roasted and grinded right on site.

Based on that success he opened a second location, Brewed on Bernard, on Mount Bernard Avenue.

That location now serves as the wholesale roastery, providing beans for the coffees served at both locations and for sale to restaurants and cafés across the island.

“Brewed is definitely a different business,” said Ollerhead.

And while some may think that coffee and sports don’t go together, Ollerhead thinks they’re the perfect fit.

“It’s quite on trend in other parts of the world,” he said, adding cycling, coffee, fine food and art all go together in Europe.

Today, the divide between the two businesses has been literally opened — when you visit Cycle Solutions and Brewed’s West Street location, the wall separating the two has been taken down.

Ollerhead said the change not only made sense from a space perspective, but has also generated great exposure for Cycle Solutions.

He’s now in the process of expanding the space more in the other direction. He recently took over the adjoining building to enlarge the retail space at Cycle Solutions.

The Western Star