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Innovation & Job News

Moving wheels: Mt. Airy electric bike shop expands to larger quarters

It all started over a disagreement about who was going to use the car. Mt. Airy resident Meenal Raval and her husband Afshin Kaighobady had proudly downshifted from two cars to one, and that's when the couple purchased their first electric bike to navigate the hilly terrain of the neighborhood. But a two mile ride to work took an hour, reports Meenal, because people kept stopping her along the way to ask about her unique form of conveyance.

"We realized no one was selling electric bikes in Philly," says Meenal, who purchased that first bike out of state. Meenal and Afshin put their life savings into Philly Electric Wheels, or PHEW!, and opened their first store at the corner of Carpenter Lane and Greene Street, right across from Weavers' Way Co-op. The response was even greater than anticipated. Not only was PHEW! selling new bikes, but all those people who had bought bikes elsewhere dusted them off and brought them in for repairs within the first month.

With continued support for the only bike shop, electric or manual, in West Mount Airy, Meenal and Afshin soon grew out of their original space. Today is the grand opening of their expanded shop at 7102 Germantown Avenue, which boasts a larger retail area with both electric and non-electric bikes for sale, more storage, more space for repairs, and increased foot traffic. Meenal says that because the new shop is on two transit lines, bikers can hook their wheels onto a SEPTA bus, drop in for repair, and then ride on home. The new shop also serves an expanded clientele, as Germantown Avenue is the dividing line between East and West Mount Airy.

Source: Meenal Raval, Philly Electric Wheels
Writer: Sue Spolan

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