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A new shop that combines fun, exercise, and an environmentally friendly method of transportation all in one will soon be opening its doors in Glenwood Park.
A permit was recently submitted to the city of Atlanta for Pedego at 414 Bill Kennedy Way SE, suite 101.
Kathy “Kat” Woirol, independent business owner and “chief fun officer” for Pedego Atlanta, hopes to open the store by mid-April, she said during a phone interview with What Now Atlanta on Monday. The 2,777-square-foot shop will sell high-quality electric bicycles. Rentals will be added later this year, Woirol said.
Pedego electric bikes allow the rider to go up to 60 miles on a battery charge, further if the rider is pedaling as well. The twist-and-go throttle allows for instant speed, which can get as high as 20 MPH (the legal limit in most states). Pedego manufactures 18 different models, varying from cruisers to mountain bikes to commuter bikes, and even a folding bike.
Bicycling is an environmentally friendly way for transportation and fun way to exercise, Woirol said. And the Pedego brand is a great match for the location, she added.
Glenwood Park was designed to offer a compelling alternative to conventional development by emphasizing the public realm, walkability, mixed uses, community, diversity, and quality over quantity, according to community officials.
“Pedego is the perfect fit for the neighborhood,” Woirol said.
The building, at the corner of Bill Kennedy Way SE and Faith Avenue SE, was recently constructed by Historical Concepts, an architecture and planning firm that also occupies the top floors.
“It’s just a beautiful building,” Woirol said.
There are 14-foot ceilings and big windows with views of the Atlanta skyline. Best of all, it’s right on the BeltLine.
“The best feature is you step out the front door and you’re on the BeltLine,” she said.
The Atlanta BeltLine, a mixed-use transit and connectivity-oriented development project, is one of the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment programs in the United States, according to officials. The aim is to make the city a “global beacon for equitable, inclusive, and sustainable city life.”
The project includes 46 miles of improved streetscapes, 33 miles of multi-use urban trails, and 22 miles of pedestrian friendly rail transit. There are also 1,300 acres of new greenspace.
As a bicycle retailer, all those trails are ideal.
“From a business point of view, it’s tremendous… (And the BeltLine project itself) is a tremendous and positive change for Atlanta,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier about the building, the proximity to the BeltLine, and the coolness of the (eco-conscious) neighborhood.”
This is the first business she’s owned, said Woirol, who worked as an HR executive for General Electric for 25 years. After working in corporate America and reaching that quarter of a century milestone with GE, she wanted to branch out on her own.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at first,” she said.
She knew she wanted to have fun and bring joy through her next business venture and Pedego fulfills that, as evidenced by the company’s tagline “Hello, fun!”
Woirol was researching franchises and independent businesses when she came across Pedego. She had already been thinking of doing something in the health or fitness realm, or a business with an environmental aspect.
“Pedego is the perfect marriage of all the little inklings I was having,” she said. “It all came together.”
By February 2020 she was doing her due diligence on Pedego, as well as simultaneously narrowing it down to four possible franchise options, when the pandemic hit.
As a single mother to two boys ages 7 and 10, Woirol, like so many parents across the country, was suddenly swamped with homeschooling her kids.
“Not knowing what was going to happen… I hit the pause button,” Woirol said.
By the time summer arrived, she could see how well Pedego was making it through COVID. Out of the five businesses she was considering, Pedego was the least impacted, even looking at an increase in sales and revenue.
The market seemed to be a great fit and the silver lining of COVID was that more people were looking for a safe way to get out and exercise while still staying socially distanced. An electric bicycle shop seemed to be the perfect fit.
She started quietly looking for a location and in fall connected with a broker to find the right spot. By December, she had signed the lease.
“I’ve never done this before, but what I don’t know firsthand I’ll have a lot of people around me who will coach and support me,” Woirol said. “And the relationship with Pedego corporate has been very supportive and positive.”
She learned a lot about business during her time with GE, she added. With so many GE alums mentoring her and helping out, including one retiree who will work at the shop with her, she’s ready for the next step.
“With all of that it makes me feel really comfortable,” she said.
The market realities are also very encouraging, she added. E-bike sales in America have climbed significantly over the years.
“I’m so optimistic about the market and the brand itself,” which offers a rare five-year warranty, she said. “It’s important to put something out there that is safe and I can be proud of and with Pedego you get that.”