Grand Rapids Bicycle Company and Trailhead Cafe | Business
by Ryan McCarthy
Tom Smith, Sr. is not a bicycle man by nature, but by trade. His Grand Rapids Bicycle Company now also includes Trailhead Café, putting him in the food business as well. These are somewhat uncharted waters for Tom, but the bike company in the Knapp’s Corner compound was for sale and he was looking for a change. After scouting a possible new location at 1200 East Paris, he found it contained a bit of restaurant equipment that could also be included in the sale. The age-old Bill and Paul’s Sporthaus is conveniently located next door, ensuring him a built-in audience of outdoorsy types. He did the math and decided to purchase the space and bicycle company in January of 2012.
While still a few months away from the end of the lease at Knapp’s Corner, he and his crew prepped the new location for its eventual opening in March. Local designer Ashley Cole was enlisted for her planning and renovation know-how, and played a key role in the final look of both the shop and cafe. They took down some walls, put up other walls, got all the necessary permits, made some upgrades and got everything to code..
Although already a local business owner for 25 years, Tom’s Lakeland Finishing Corporation was changing. Tom, Sr. owns two auto parts finishing plants; he and his son Brian ran one, while his son Tom, Jr. ran the other. They...