If you were to ask a native of Peterborough, “Where is Queen Street?”, they would probably look at you with a quizzical frown. If you followed-up with, “It’s where Fontaine’s is.”, you would likely get an immediate and correct answer. When we started asking cycling friends about Fontaine’s one message stood out loud and clear: this is a family-oriented business with a long history in this community. We heard something like, “I got my first bike there as a kid” several times. This makes sense as Fontaine’s has been in business for over 60 years and the staff there pride themselves on the idea of being there for customers throughout their cycling growth. Ben Logan, store manager, summed it up nicely, “It is pretty special to have sold a child their first bike at a young age and see them come in time after time to get the next size needed until they become fully grown”. The crew at the shop seemed like a family and they clearly view families as their key client group.
Fontaine’s approach to meeting the needs of their customers is to maintain a high level of service, offer quality products and keep up with current and changing trends in the cycling industry and never forget the basic on which they built their business. Ben states proudly, “We still offer the same principals of sales and service with an emphasis on service for all of these 60 plus years”.
It’s a Saturday morning and the shop is busy with customers of all ages, the younger ones with parents in tow. Gazing through the racks of bikes, it is clear Fontaine’s caters to a broad range of cyclists. Bikes for children and youth feature prominently with a good range of kids bikes, BMX and mountain bikes. These are complemented by a good selection of hybrid, comfort, performance hybrid, and adventure road bikes. Staff noted how customer interest changes among the bike styles. Right now, hybrids, which cover a range of bike uses, are very popular. With the improvements in local trails and continued improvements at Harold Town Conservation Area, mountain bikes are an ever-growing category.
Fontaine’s are full line dealers for Norco and Rocky Mountain bikes and also carry Fit, WeThePeople, Haro, Encore and United BMX bikes. Ben noted Rocky Mountain and Norco bikes are Canadian companies designing and engineering their bikes here with some Rocky Mountain bikes are assembled and painted in Canada. Fontaine’s also carry a wide range of accessories and have repair parts in stock for all makes and models of bikes. Backing up sales is a complete maintenance department staffed by mechanics Steve Levasseur and Ed Huddlestone, who between them have over half a century of experience. They are supported by avid riders and BMX enthusiasts Kyle Fleming and Denvers Whelan. Store owner Terry Bovair rounds out the sales team.
When asked about running a bicycle shop in Peterborough these days, Ben was very enthusiastic, noting that the local cycling community is very diverse and growing rapidly. He noted how we are lucky to have the large groomed and maintained trail networks in the area, especially given the downtown (and their shop) is the hub or starting point for many of the trails. He also gave a round of appreciation to the continuing investment in cycling infrastructure around the city, such as bike lanes and signs, all of which are indicators of more positive things to come, especially when it comes to cyclists and motorists sharing the road and increased safety across the community.
When pressed about concerns he had, Ben noted the pressure from online retailers. He expressed some frustration in that many people only looked at the price and ignored all the downsides, like hidden costs of exchange rates and duties and the lack of full-service. This is a concern of many local bike shop owners and a real problem for the industry (not to mention customers who get stuck with a less-than-perfect bike).
As with all our local bike shop write-ups, we asked cyclist friends about Fontaine’s. As mentioned, the family message came through loud and clear. People liked their attentive, gentle, knowledgeable and straightforward approach to serving customers. One friend summed up the comments nicely. She wrote, “When I decided to treat myself to my first new bike in 15 years I went to Fontaine’s. They are my neighborhood bike store and liked the idea of bike shopping so close to home. Fontaine’s gives the same knowledgeable attention and low key support to everyone who comes into the shop: young parents looking for a second-hand bike for their kid, someone needing a new seat or wondering why the tire on their ancient beater is flat. There is no expectation that the customer will be committed to an ideology of cycling. They just continue to do what they have done for many years without making a fetish of it—they fix and sell bikes and support all kinds of bike owners. And they do it well, and affordably.”
So, if you are looking for a new bike, bike accessories or your bike needs a repair, roll on down to Fontaine’s and start your family relationship. Clearly, you will get great service and next time you get asked, you will know where Queen Street is.
Fontaine Source For Sports
384 Queen Street
Fontaine’s is a valuable part of our local bike shop network. When you shop local you get a better return on your investment: you get the bike you need, you get better customer service and your money stays in our community.