Carlsbad bike shop finds success during COVID-19 pandemic

Businesses in Carlsbad have made a resurgence as New Mexico eased coronavirus restrictions allowing customers to return to storefronts and the US economy, driven by historic spending during the holiday season, began to recover .

“Many of our local businesses have recovered since the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to their hard work,” said City of Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway. “We have the ability to support their recovery efforts by buying local whenever possible.”

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Zia Bike & Board Shop's inventory includes clothing, safety gear, parts and of course plenty of bikes and skateboards for land and paddle boards for water.

Some business owners have found new success during tough times.

Robbie Franco, owner of the Zia Bike and Board store in downtown Carlsbad, said he opened the business because he saw a need — more people riding bikes and finding other ways to get out, during the pandemic.

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“We haven’t had a (bike) shop for over 20 to 25 years,” Franco said. “The pandemic is what makes people want to ride outside instead of staying inside.”

According to the US Census Bureau, consumers have turned to bicycling and other outdoor activities for safe and fun exercise, a routine that has led to bike shortages.

A custom bike available at the Zia Bike and Board Shop.

The Bureau cites supply chain issues with U.S. bike makers, dwindling imports after factories in East Asia closed and stay-at-home orders from the U.S. as contributors to the shortage.

Franco said the store was having trouble getting bikes from some vendors, but is currently fully stocked with more than 80 bikes, skateboards and various accessories.

The store has been actively involved in the community since opening in May, Franco said.

In November, the store held a Thanksgiving food drive and marathon. On December 18, he hosted a toy run for Eddy County CASA and the Carlsbad Battered Family Shelter.

He said he also plans to run a monthly bike ride starting in 2022 with a vision to create a cycling community in Carlsbad.

Claudia Silva is a reporter for UNM’s Local Reporting Fellowship. She can be reached at [email protected], by phone at 575-628-5506 or on Twitter @thewatchpup.