After spending three years helping to launch the retro-chic bike label Bowery Lane Bicycles in New York, Michael Salvatore has returned to his Chicago roots to open Heritage Bicycles General Store, combining his bike manufacturing business with the city’s first Stumptown coffee shop. Salvatore is bringing boutique bike fabrication back to the city after a more than 30-year absence once Schwinn left town. The Lincoln Avenue store reflects the classic design of Salvatore’s Heritage Bicycles line with wood-paneled walls and reclaimed wood tables and coffee bar. Bikes are clearly present in the design, including a chandelier built of bicycle rims, but Salvatore wanted the overall effect to be understated. “It’s not as obvious as a bike shop. We tried to bring bikes into the store in a subtle way,” he said.
Working with New York–based interior designer Suzy Genzler Tomcho, Salvatore brought a vintage aesthetic to the shop. The fifth-generation Chicagoan filled the shop with finds from his family’s basements, bringing a turn-of-the-century feel to the sunny storefront on a major bike-commuting artery. Tomcho said the design was meant to evoke a sense of neighborhood culture, creating a place where cyclists could meet around a cup of coffee and begin their rides across the city.