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Bikle's returning to downtown Hagerstown

Two plan to reopen business Oct. 1 in a new storefront, which will be rebranded as Bikle's Snow, Skate & Surf

August 18, 2013|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com
  • From left, former owner of Bikle's, Bill Clowser, with Ryan Daughtridge and Dax Zombro, the two who are continuing the business as Bikle's Snow, Skate & Surf at 1 N. Potomac St. in Hagerstown.
Submitted photo

Area skiers and snowboarders can rejoice: Bikle’s is returning to downtown Hagerstown.

Former owner Bill Clowser, who ran the business since the 1980s after taking the reins from his father, announced his retirement this past spring, and said the store would be closing for good unless someone wanted to continue the business.

A local businessman and a longtime Bikle’s employee have stepped up to answer the call, and one of Hagerstown’s few remaining downtown retail shops will be reopening this fall.

Hagerstown native Ryan Daughtridge, founder of a New York-based skateboard company, recently purchased the business from Clowser.

Bringing along Dax Zombro, who was assistant manager of Bikle’s for more than 20 years, the duo is planning to reopen the business Oct. 1 in a new storefront, 1 N. Potomac St., just a few doors down from the original location, Daughtridge said.

Zombro will serve as the general manager of the new store, which will be rebranded as Bikle’s Snow, Skate & Surf.

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“We’re pumped to be reopening the store that so many of us grew up with,” Daughtridge said in a news release, announcing the store’s reopening. “We’re going to build on what Bill and his family have created, and try to breathe new life into the store by adding the skate and surf components.”

Clowser, whose family ran the store for more than 50 years, said he’s excited to see the new energy that Daughtridge and Zombro are bringing to the table.

“To all our customers, friends and staff, I send a big ‘thank you’ for allowing us to be a part of your winter sports experience,” Clowser said in the release. “Best wishes to you all.”

Clowser said he’s happy to see Zombro, a familiar face to Bikle’s customers across the Tri-State area, taking over the lead role in the store’s continued operation.

“I could not have asked for Bikle’s to be in better hands,” Clowser said of Zombro. “He is family, and our customers love him. He is irreplaceable as he has been for the past 20-plus years.”

Zombro said adding surf and skate equipment and apparel will help grow the business into a year-round operation, rather than just around the skiing and snowboarding season.

Zombro said the shift will align Bikle’s more as a “lifestyle store,” where people can buy an assortment of clothing in addition to their gear.

“The best thing is ... I know Bikle’s was one of the oldest businesses downtown,” he said. “If Bikle’s would have closed up, retail downtown would have almost been gone. I really like being focused on downtown business and just downtown in general.”

Right on the city’s Public Square, the white-and-purple storefront, which previously served as the location of a short-lived business called Jocelyn’s Closet, will receive a “hip new makeover,” said Daughtridge, and he’s hoping it will have a positive effect on foot traffic in the downtown area.

“It’s the kind of thing we can contribute to the town,” he said. “I’m just excited about the downtown. I felt like lots of people should be doing things. This is one thing we can do.”

Daughtridge recently moved back to Hagerstown and established a Summit Avenue distribution hub for his company, Bustin Industries, which makes Bustin Boards longboards.

It will be a “full-out sprint” to get the store ready by the beginning of October, but Daughtridge is confident he and Zombro can make it happen.

When he first came to Hagerstown late last year, Daughtridge — whose brother, Rich, owns High Rock Studios, also on Public Square — hinted that he wanted to open a retail shop downtown at some point.

Daughtridge said he’s hoping to attract new customers by offering a unique and always-changing inventory depending on the season.

“It’s all about carrying the things that Dick’s (Sporting Goods) doesn’t have, the outlets don’t have,” he said.

The store’s hours are tentatively set for 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., although the days of operation are still not set.

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