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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018 3 years ago

Wheel Works celebrates 10 years in downtown Winter Garden

The bike shop has been so successful and popular that it expanded its storefront in 2011.
by: Amy Quesinberry Community Editor

Dennis and Karen Jones opened their small bicycle shop on downtown Plant Street in Winter Garden 10 years ago to give West Orange Trail users another option for their biking needs.

A decade later, their inventory continues to appeal to everyone from racers and triathletes to families looking for a leisurely ride. There are even children’s trailers for little ones whose feet don’t yet reach the pedals, as well as baskets for pets that like to take rides.

And while bicycles make up a large percentage of sales, Dennis Jones said the shop sells a variety of accessories, such as helmets, locks, lights, cycling-specific shoes, coffee mugs, magnets and bumper stickers, nutrition bars, gels and even CBD oils for recovery.

Apparel is available, too, such as jerseys and other Wheel Works-branded T-shirts, and the Joneses have partnered with Crooked Can to cobrand jerseys and bikes. Wheel Works also sponsors a triathlete team, Swim Like a Pro, in Clermont and custom-made its jerseys.

Children — and adults — who are fans of Star Wars, Walt Disney World, “Frozen” and “Paw Patrol” can now purchase licensed products with these and other themes.

A mobile service was started two years ago and has steadily grown, Dennis Jones said. It has proven beneficial to cyclists who have bikes that aren’t easy to transport, such as tandem or three-wheelers. The mobile van typically goes out into the community three times a week.

When the mobile service van is in use, the driver is qualified and equipped to fix something simple, such as a flat tire, or to do a complete overhaul of a bike if it’s needed.

In addition to bicycle sales and repairs, Wheel Works rents out bikes, too, from the West Orange Trail’s Winter Garden Trailhead, and they are available in all sizes and types, from road bikes to recumbents.

The rental station is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends.

Karen Jones said they are lucky to have dedicated employees who provide excellent customer service.

“We try to give an experience here, not just product, not just goods, but service and experience,” she said. “We keep trying to find ways to keep people engaged. If they’re not a customer yet, we want them to come in.”

To celebrate their 10 years in downtown Winter Garden, the Joneses held an open house Nov. 15 at the store. Many of their regulars attended, as did some former employees.

Wheel Works is committed to community service and held its eighth annual Think Pink bike ride in October. The event raised more than $21,600 for breast cancer research.

In January, the Art & Wine program will start back up, and an art instructor provides lessons in creating a bike-themed painting.

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Amy Quesinberry is the community editor of the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She was born and raised in Winter Garden, grew up reading the community newspaper and has been employed there as a writer, photographer and editor since 1990....

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