Founded by husband and wife team Michael and Melissa, Heritage Bicycles opened in Chicago in January 2012. Part bicycle store, part coffee shop- the hybrid space has community building at its core. We’re excited to share Michael’s thoughts on what makes Heritage Bicycles more than a bike shop (and Creative Director Melissa’s stunning images of the space!)

Thanks for chatting with us, Michael! Your showroom combines bike repair and store, coffee shop, and retail. What was the goal for combining all these different functions?
I knew I wanted to make locally handcrafted bikes, but we didn’t want to have just a bike shop. We wanted to have a community space where people could hang out and be social around the idea of biking. By adding a café, we could foster a stronger relationship with the neighborhood—not to mention we could sustain the business during the bike off-season.

Combining all those functions requires a really cohesive look. What inspired the design of the space?
The design was a collaboration with my wife, her cousin Suzy for the interior design, and myself. We really didn’t have a concrete plan until we had the keys to the space. I think a lot of inspiration comes from the space itself; the layout, the ceilings, the windows, and the way the sun comes through.

I love how seamlessly it all comes together, though I’m sure it didn’t just happen that way. What is your favorite part of the showroom?
I have a soft spot for the antique oven I bought for the milk bar. It was the first purchase I made for the shop. The moment I saw it I was able to see it was perfect for containing milks, sugars, stirrers, etc. We bought a dorm mini fridge, took it apart, and reassembled it within the oven to keep it cold.

Where in Chicago is your showroom? Tell us about your neighborhood.
We’re located at 2959 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Lincoln Park. It’s an eclectic neighborhood, with lots of great shops and restaurants. Our success is in part due to the supportive people in the neighborhood. I’m a fifth-generation Chicagoan. Everything about this city is special; it’s my home and my heritage (pun intended).

You’ve been open for a little over a year and half. I’m sure it’s been a whirlwind. Any new projects in the pipeline?
A children’s line of bikes and toys. More Heritage outposts in Chicago and expanding our bike line. We hope to open a retail space in LA and manufacture bikes out there as well. My wife, Melissa, who is Heritage’s creative director, is opening a photo studio down the street.

Wow! Not even two years old and already planning intra-city expansion- best of luck! Now… it’s time for us to go on a bike ride. 

December 04, 2014 by Michael Salvatore
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