“And I was like, ‘It’s funny you say that. I would have never thought of that, but I’m not saying ‘no’ to that,’” he says.
Figuring out the details took a few years. They landed on a spot on West Northwest Highway near Lemmon Avenue. It wasn’t their first choice, but with about 3,000 square feet, it was large enough to fit the inventory. Henry saw nearby Bachman Lake as an “untapped resource” and thought a bike shop would draw more cyclists to the area. It was also the last space to be leased at The Shops at Bluffview, so the landlord gave him a good deal.
Henry initially saw the unfinished space without a floor as a benefit, a way to customize the shop to his and his partners’ specific needs. Construction ended up being a chore, but they were happy with the result.
Another early challenge was filling up the shop with about 6,000 products in a weekend. While stocking the store, he was also taking inventory and learning a new point-of-sale system.
The pandemic made business boom for Preston Hollow Bicycles. Henry had been working part-time in restaurants to help support the shop financially and thought it would have to close permanently.
He was wrong.
Henry and his staff had to work seven days a week for more than a year to handle the influx of customers, whose determination to get a bike sometimes motivated them to purchase incorrect sizes.
“We’ll never see this feverish nature of, ‘I’ve got to have this’ in a short amount of time,” he says. “We’re still busy. The industry’s still busy, but it’s residual from just the madness of, everyone had to ride.”
The shop services and repairs almost every kind of bike, even ones it doesn’t sell. But to Henry, what distinguishes his business is customer service. He wants to provide a good experience for people who walk into the shop, but he has a loftier goal in mind, too: changing the nature of the industry. Henry didn’t understand why employees at bike stores never acted like they wanted to help him as a customer, why they didn’t seem to care. He thought he had to open the shop to spark change. Everyone working there helps and respects all customers, especially those new to cycling.
“That’s my favorite customer because I’m hoping that they’re going to get a charge out of cycling like I did,” he says. “And if I’m able to facilitate that, that’s job done.”