By Katie Macarelli
Today will be the first of a four-part series we’ll run over the next few weeks on what we like to call the “Cherry Creek Bike Path Quad-fecta”. Nestled snugly into one pretty amazing warehouse along the Cherry Creek bike path are the following: Nie Brothers Cycles, Primal Wear, Alchemy Bikes and, AND an additional location for The Pro’s Closet! Is your head exploding yet? Mine too. So let’s break it down and for now, meet Jacob and Jesse Nie--the owners and managers of Nie Brothers Cycles.
Jacob and Jesse grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan where their family ran (and still run) the local funeral home for several generations. As Jesse described it, “Growing up in that atmosphere made us both really appreciate the service aspect of what our dad did for people. But there was no pressure to follow in his footsteps. It was there if we wanted it, but our parents encouraged us to find what we loved.” Jake found that love first. It was bikes. Jesse admits, that as the younger brother, he was a little more lackadaisical with that love than Jake.
“I was probably responsible for at least four of Jake’s bikes getting stolen when we were kids. I’m still trying to make up for that.” -Jesse
Jake began working as a mechanic at a bike shop right down the street from the family business. Jesse was quick to follow. And over the years that’s been the pattern. The brothers have led each other from shop to shop. They came to Colorado in 2008 and feel lucky to have worked with some of the finest in the industry--Doug Emerson of U-Bikes for one. In fact, Jesse always joked with Doug (who opened his first shop when he was 25) that he’d beat Doug’s record for the youngest shop owner by at least a year. And now he can say he did (sorry Doug). Jesse Nie is 24 and Jacob Nie is 26. They officially opened their own shop on July 1st, 2013. Their love of the bike, of service and of their community is downright contagious.
As soon as you walk into Nie Bros. it seems that you aren’t really in a bike shop--at least one that I’ve ever seen. I got the formal tour of their shop back in August. The shop leads into the service area, which morphs into Alchemy Bikes, which opens the door to The Pro’s Closet. They share a wall with Primal. The shop is a classic homage to the 80’s Coors Classic era. Sleek, yet warm. Homey, yet uncluttered. There are Michigan souvenirs on display at a bar where you can sit and see Alchemy bikes being made. The day I was there, a barrage of friendly faces from the Quad-fecta passes in and out. And the topper? Their adorable shop pup, Hattie Faye roams the shop with a happy loyalty. It’s just a great place--I joked that I didn’t want to leave. I really didn’t.
The Nie Bros. have successfully solved the long-standing cyclist’s problem of “Where do I go for help when I’m riding the bike path aside from REI or Bicycle Village?” You may have even seen Jesse on the bike path. Every Saturday since opening, he takes water bottles, gels, bars, tubes, tools, etc. and a trusted walkie-talkie. If someone has a major mechanical, Jesse calls it in to Jake and Jake is there waiting less than 200 yards or so away at the shop. Now that’s service.
Anyone who has worked with family knows that it can be tricky. These guys pull it off with a kind of grace that makes you want to call up your siblings or hug them. As Jesse said, “There is definitely a really special, unspoken commitment that we have to each other--we know we will make this work. Jake is revered as one of the best mechanics in the state, so he’s the Bike Service Master. And I am...everything else. Head of the sales floor, merchandising, a jack of all trades. We both are.”
And that’s true. The best thing about meeting Jake and Jesse was watching them work and relate to their customers together. You can tell they are brothers. I listened as they filled in each other’s sentences, Jake would reach for a tool and Jesse would hand it over without breaking eye contact with the customer sitting across the counter from them. They genuinely want to help everyone who comes in. Regardless of the bike, the kit, the costliness of the bike. In fact, they delight in the helping those who don’t necessarily know everything about bikes.
As Jesse puts it, “It’s like going to Best Buy. If I were to go into that shop and just look around without knowing much about electronics, it would be overwhelming. Suffocating, even. We wanted to set up a place where people of all levels feel comfortable coming, so they can take the next step in cycling. Whatever that next step can be.”
Right now the next step is continuing to build a loyal client base. They just did a special fit and build for a gentleman from Texas who was 6’8”. The man had heard of Alchemy bikes in Austin and just called up the Nie Bros. Upon the fit, he was literally moved to tears because he’d never really been on a bike that fit. Pretty amazing.
What else? The shop is now closed on Sundays so they can both race cyclo-cross on Sundays. Be on the lookout for the Alchemy Tent as Alchemy gives them brotherly support when needed. Stop by and say hello! Ask them about #projecthappiness and pet Hattie Faye. You will definitely make some new friends when you finally meet the Nie Brothers.
Visit the Nie Bros. and the Quad-fecta for yourself at:
Address: 7700 Cherry Creek S Dr #101, Denver, CO 80231
Mon-Fri: 10am - 6pm
Sat - Sun: 10am - 6pm