It took nine and a half months, but Menlo Park's mayor this year, Drew Combs, finally had his first chance to enjoy one of the perks that comes with the title: cutting ribbons to celebrate the grand openings of new businesses in town.
This grand opening, held the afternoon of Sept. 17, was to celebrate Pedego, an electric bicycle shop in downtown Menlo Park at 807 Santa Cruz Ave. The store sells, rents and services electric bicycles, also known as e-bikes, and has already been operating quietly in town for months.
"It speaks to the reality of being mayor during the pandemic," Combs said, of the fact that there haven't been very many new business openings to celebrate in Menlo Park this year. "It's great to be here to support a new business here."
Menlo Park's economic development consultant, Angela Tsui, said that Pedego is one of a few new businesses in Menlo Park, and that there are some others coming soon.
"I'm excited to have such a great new business downtown encouraging mobility," she said.
The new shop's owner, Jeff Scanlan, is a Half Moon Bay resident and lifelong cyclist. He's also a former nonprofit executive who most recently worked as executive director of the Silicon Valley chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
After experiencing some of the changes that hit nonprofits during the pandemic, he said, he wanted to try something different.
That something became a mission to bring an e-bike shop to Menlo Park. He aimed to start a business on the Peninsula, his home of 25 years, while combining his leadership experiences with his passion for cycling.
He said he chose to focus on e-bikes because the industry is exploding with growth and demand for e-bikes is growing faster than for traditional bikes. Menlo Park also serves as a good location for a shop because of its bike lanes and proximity to cycling routes in Portola Valley and Woodside, he added.
Pedego CEO Don Dicostanzo is on a tour hosting ribbon cuttings and customer appreciation parties at shop locations across the U.S., and greeted event attendees in Menlo Park Sept. 17. E-bicycles can help people – especially those who don't currently enjoy riding bikes – rediscover the joy of cycling, he said.
E-bicycles may also provide a unique compromise in a community where bicycling is often touted as an environmentally superior way to get around town compared to driving. With an e-bike, people can get where they need to go without the traditional downsides of riding a bike – like showing up to work sweaty, explained Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Fran Dehn.
"It's the perfect opportunity to get your car off the road," she said.
"(Pedego) leans into how Menlo Park sees itself as a multimodal city," Combs added.
Pedego is open Mondays and Tuesdays by appointment only, Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. E-bike rental rates start at $25 per hour. Go to the business' website here for more information.