At first glance, the thin sheet of metal behind the gated wall inside Fulton Bikes looks like a refreshing, post-modern interior design.
But in reality, it’s a painful reminder: That cold sheet of metal used to be the only thing that kept burglars from busting through the wall from the vacant building space next door and hurting Mr. Han's business.
Now, it stands on the opposite wall, as a sort of, well, I guess, interior design, representing a harder time when crime was a lot worse on Fulton Street.
“He’s been through a lot,” co-owner Henry Chang said of Mr. Han. “There were lots of break-ins in the past.”
Times are different. Fulton Bikes has rapidly changed in the past year since it opened 25 years ago. It is run by Chang and Mr. Han's son Philip Han. And that vacant space that once left the shop susceptible to break-ins? It's being turned into an upscale apartment complex, allegedly funded by Goldman Sachs.
Most importantly, however, business is booming for Mr. Han’s shop, in more ways than one. It’s not a new shop by any means. But the over-achieving small business is gaining recognition with its new look and new digs.
During last winter, for three months, Fulton Bikes knocked down the opposite wall from the one that took a beating from break-ins and expanded the store to 2,000 square feet.
The changes won’t stop there either. In the fall, the business will expand another 1,000 feet into the back, to make room for storage and repair-shop space.
Fulton Bikes is not your mom-and-pop bike store that smells of rubber and rusted metal. The store has opted instead for the cool, slick and classy new business look to out style the old competitors in the neighborhood.
At a time when bike shops are relatively scarce in Brooklyn, Fulton Bikes has built a savvy word-of-mouth groundswell-- an incumbent business nestled inconspicuously in Bed-Stuy. And if online reviews are any indication, they are beloved in the neighborhood.
The stock is diverse, with everything from kids bikes to wheels for serious riders. And the store features the best-selling bikes in the world like Trek, Giant and Raleigh, priced between $300 and $3,500 to tantalize both the light-pocketed and the high-rollers.
Repair jobs are also reasonable, ranging from $40 to $60, depending on the job. And with the new extension for the repair room, Chang and Han aim to make Fulton Bikes a luxurious experience with a nurturing local touch.
Fulton Bikes is located on 1580 Fulton Street (between Albany Ave & Marcus Garvey Blvd). The store is open Monday - Saturday, from 10:00am - 7:30pm. If you’re thinking about swooping in to check out the bikes, best avoid the weekends and Mondays.