Vail Valley bike shops merge |

Vail Valley bike shops merge

Scott N. Miller
Vail, CO, Colorado
Scott N. Miller/smiller@vaildaily.comDeb Benjamin, left, and Mike Brumbaugh, recently merged their shops " Freewheel Cyclery in Beaver Creek and Venture Sports in Avon. So far, both say the merger's been seamless, good for customers and a lot of fun.

Deb Benjamin and Mike Brumbaugh’s partnership started in a Vail Valley warehouse.

Brumbaugh, long the owner of Venture Sports in Avon, and Benjamin, owner of Freewheel Cyclery in Beaver Creek, had been friendly competitors for several years, and knew each other a little bit. They got to know each other better when the two business owners ended up sharing warehouse space.

“We trusted each other with keys to the warehouse and nothing went missing,” Brumbaugh said. “It was a good sign.”

After some talking, some due diligence and more talking, Benjamin and Brumbaugh decided last fall they’d become partners. Through the ski season, Benjamin worked at Venture Sports ” Freewheel is a summer-only operation in Beaver Creek ” and she and Brumbaugh were able to learn more about how they had been running their businesses.

So far, both say the new partnership hasn’t hit much in the way of relationship speed bumps.

“I’m constantly pinching myself,” Brumbaugh said. “It’s been incredibly smooth so far.”

Brumbaugh and Benjamin say their partnership has allowed them to combine some business-office functions, which saves time and money. But that isn’t something customers can see.

The merger also lets Brumbaugh and Benjamin spend more time doing what they love ” talking about and selling bikes, something they’ve both done for a very long time.

Benjamin, who’s already starting to develop her summer tan ” marked by the sleeves of her cycling jersey ” said she’s eager to keep getting other women on bicycles.

“From novices to racers, I love to get ladies out on bikes,” she said.

People will also notice a similar idea of customer service at both shops, Benjamin said.

“We both really believe in doing the right thing for customers,” she said. “We want to make a profit, of course, but that’s not the only reason we’re doing this.”

Brumbaugh said customers will also be better-served by two shops for everything from rentals to service to sales.

“People in Beaver Creek sometimes don’t like to come down to town, so we’ll be able to help them up there,” he said.

Customers will also notice expanded inventory in both shops ” the stores are keeping the bike lines they brought to the partnership. And, both said the cycle makers they represent are happy about the merger.

“I’ve been fortunate with my vendors,” Benjamin said. “I’ve always been small, but I did big things like workshops and rides.”

Brumbaugh said his suppliers are happy, too, because they’re getting a distributor in Beaver Creek.

While the partners haven’t made a big deal out of their merger, word is getting out.

“I ran into a friend of mine at the grocery store the other day,” Benjamin said. “He told me he thinks it’s a great combination. That came unsolicited, and it was great to hear.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or



Venture Sports and Freewheel Cyclery bicycle lines include:





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