April is a chic month for Greater Greenville! ECY Shoes n Chic has just launched in River Place, and now Pedal Chic has located in its new space right in the heart of the West End.Pedal Chic, a unique women's athletic boutique, is owned by Robin Bylenga, who used some not-so-happy experiences in the corporate world (she was laid off twice) to create and realize her dream of owning her own business."Pedal Chic is an athletic and cycle boutique which caters specifically to women. We have athletic and casual apparel for women, and we want women regardless of their size or athletic ability to have a place to call their own. We carry cycling, running, yoga and lifestyle apparel and gear," says Bylenga.By opening Pedal Chic, Bylenga, who describes herself as an athlete and the proud single mom of three children, says she is catering to women like her — athletes who want unique, state-of-the-art technology apparel and gear in order to pursue their love of sports.
"We are the only women's-specific cycling and athletic boutique. We bring in products that are uncommon, those typically only found in larger metropolitan areas like New York, San Francisco and LA."
As Greenville becomes greener, Bylenga is taking steps to cater to that market too. "We are also heavily investing in the urban commuter client, providing bicycles, accessories (helmets, baskets, panniers) and apparel for that segment of the market. With Greenville fast becoming known for its bike paths and our commitment to the quality of life here, commuting by bicycle is an up and coming trend."
Bylenga is also capitalizing on Greenville's growing reputation as the ultimate cycle-friendly town. She located her store right downtown, in the area near Reedy River Falls. "There was never any doubt that I wanted to be located downtown. Since I moved to Greenville in 1989, I have always been a huge supporter of the downtown revitalization. If I could, I'd live right above the shop."
"Our products are carefully selected for quality and fit, and we have worked tirelessly to bring in unique and exciting products. We are also extremely affordable; just because we're a boutique doesn't mean we're expensive. And we have a tremendous amount of passion for what we do and genuinely care about our customers," she says.
Bylenga admits the best advice she got was from a mentor who told her that during her first year as a business owner she would be feeling like she was spinning plates. "The most challenging thing for me now is keeping all the plates spinning and hoping I don't break anything! We are working on getting our online store up and running, keeping inventory levels stocked and, above all, keeping our customers happy and growing the community for women."
Bylenga wants to see her business run like a well-oiled machine. "In three to five years, I'd like to see our business expand. I have dreams and plans. We don't just want to sell bikes and apparel — we want to build a community of women that support and encourage one another."
651-B South Main Street