Bike Rack SUCCESS! About-Face at Mollie Stone’s

18 Jun

You see these bike racks at Mollie Stone’s Market? They’re lovely, aren’t they? They’re right next to the main entrance so they’re easy to find, and they’re sturdy ones that let you lock the frame, not just a wheel. The store owners obviously value bicyclists as customers, right? Yes, they do. But it wasn’t always this way.

Most shoppers were set up with racks that hold two bags of groceries.

Mollie Stone’s Market is located in the California Avenue business district in Palo Alto, a three block long, four lane street that’s been slated for a street makeover for years. The plan includes reducing it from four to two lanes with left turn lanes and bike lanes, but no reduction in street parking. Merchants feared the worst: “Traffic will be terrible!” “How will our customers get to our stores?” “Bikes are bad for business.”

That’s pretty much what a Mollie Stone’s co-owner said at a city council meeting. He even threatened that removing lanes could mean closing his store, an anchor for the business district.

What the co-owner didn’t count on was the reaction of his staff, who took him to task telling him how many of the store’s customers arrived by bike. He got the message and contacted volunteers at the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition‘s Palo Alto local team who advised him on what customers who arrive by bike want and need. The result was top tier bike parking and a steady stream of happy bike-riding customers.

The owner is now an advocate for bicycles to local businesses. In a press release co-owner David Bennett stated: “As more Palo Alto residents get around on their bikes, it’s vital that we have the infrastructure in place to support them. We wanted to make sure that we had the ideal setup, so we implemented all of the SVBC’s recommendations. We’re very excited to offer these additional racks to our Palo Alto community.”

Thank you Adina, Andrew, the rest of the Palo Alto team and SVBC for supporting everyday bicycling!

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Location: Mollie Stone’s Market, 164 S. California Avenue at Park Blvd, Palo Alto, California, USA


Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Bike Lane FAIL


8 responses to “Bike Rack SUCCESS! About-Face at Mollie Stone’s

  1. Dan Connelly (@djconnel)

    June 18, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Mollie Stones has become a regular stop for me when I commute Palo Alto to MtView. I was pleased to run into John of the old JJ&F there, who relocated after he and his partners sold that excellent market. Story was competition from Trader Joes on Embarcadero cut into sales, which is too bad. A good thing I’ll say about Mollie Stones is they have never complained about me taking my bike into the store, in striking contrast to Whole Foods.

    • ladyfleur

      June 18, 2013 at 9:41 pm

      I’m sure the direct comparison to Trader Joe’s had an impact. The bike rack at TJ’s is always full.

  2. Peter Donohue

    June 18, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    I wish the retailers along Polk Street in SF (where I live) would pay attention to this. I went to a meeting on changing the street to improve walk-ability and bike-ability, and they were vehemently opposed to the plans for improving biking and walking (which, admittedly, would likely remove some parking).

    What sucks is they don’t remember that they chose to move to this neighborhood to access the people who live there. In the more than 7 years I have lived here, I have been to most of the businesses who stood up and spoke, but I can’t think of a time I ever drove to any one of them (vast majority of times I walked).

    I didn’t speak at the meeting, as it seemed like a lynch mob. I did send a letter basically detailing this to my supervisor.

    A few of the more vehement retailers who did speak likely will not ever get my visit again. Maybe those car-centric businesses would do better in Daly City? Lots of parking there. Hopefully the business that replaces them in my neighborhood will learn and be more bike/walk friendly.

    • ladyfleur

      June 18, 2013 at 9:40 pm

      Thank you for attending the Polk Street meeting and writing a letter. I ride Caltrain with a man who told me how crazy the meeting was. The numbers tell a different story than the retailers fear. And that’s just it. It’s fear.

      The retailers commute from distant locations and have trouble parking, so they assume their customers are like them. But their customers are people like you who walk, ride or take transit. People will commute far further than they shop, especially for basics like groceries and drug store items. I’m hope the Polk Street people figure it out eventually.

  3. savvybikes

    June 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    I wonder if he ever installed the racks at the Burlingame store that he publically (via FB) said he would install and then decided that he couldn’t do it.

    • ladyfleur

      June 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      I know you don’t shop there much since you moved, but now would be the time to ask for a rack again. The Mollie Stone’s people responded very positively via twitter to this post.

  4. fiedlerin

    June 26, 2013 at 8:06 am

    “Wheel Bender” I like that, in Germany they are called “Felgentoeter” (rim killers)

  5. NSH

    June 28, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I’m digging the new bike racks at Mollie Stone’s. I’ve been stopping there to pick up sandwiches for a weekly bike picnic for a few years now and the new racks are so nice. (I also love that they put up a sign saying that you can fill up your water bottle there.) I really appreciate their new bike-friendliness. Love your blog and your column in the Voice.


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