Business Happenings - October 2002
Poison Spider Bicycles
and Nichols Expeditions
Specialize in Fast & Friendly Service
and Judy Nichols, proprietors and main guides, imbue Poison
Spider Bike Shop and Nichols Expeditions with their easy-going,
genuine and friendly personalities. Both companies run smoothly
and efficiently, while at the same time customers and employees
find a down home warmth usually associated with a mom-and-pops
business. Thats because Chuck and Judy are downright
nice people who have managed to create two successful businesses
out of their passions for biking and traveling.
Nichols started running their expeditions twenty-five years
ago while still living in Colorado. They found themselves
running many of their river trips out of Moab and moved here
in 1988. They opened the first bed-and-breakfast in the area,
called Canyon Country, and used it as a headquarters until
two years later when they opened a tiny bike shop on the north
end of town. The rental fleet consisted of six used bikes.
Since then, they have kept the same location, but on the suggestion
of their first store manager, Kevin Dwyer, they razed the
shack and have built a first-class repair and retail bike
shop, which also functions as the headquarters of Nichols
Expeditions. Dwyer christened the shop with the name Poison
Spider, in honor of the gnarly Moab bike trail.
rental fleet has since expanded to 70 top-of-the-line bikes,
mostly Gary Fischers and Treks, and the staff includes fifteen
to twenty people year round. The bike mechanics are exceptional,
some Barnetts Certified, and all are passionate about
their sport. Current manager Scott Guzman-Newton describes
the staff as a team that works and plays together, and adds,
this is just a fun place to work. They ride Moab
trails off duty which makes them very knowledgeable about
the area. The staff can speak first-hand about the trails
they recommend to visitors to the area and often find themselves
doing a little environmental education on cryptobiotic soil
and other anomalies of the desert.
of the reason Poison Spider attracts such excellent mechanics
and friendly personalities is the way Chuck and Judy choose
to run their business. They offer unusually great benefits
for a bike shop, including health and retirement. As an incentive
to get people commuting on non-motorized transportation, they
pay employees a $1 a day for walking, biking or skateboarding
to work. They reimburse a portion of funds used for educational
purposes, which has allowed employees to pursue language classes
as well as bicycle-related courses. Scott displays real earnestness
when he says, Ive never worked for anyone so nice.
And reciprocal sentiments are expressed by Chuck who explains
that, We trust them all to do their best and they rise
to a high level of performance.
Spider also caters to other types of bicycling, such as BMX
and road biking, as evidenced by their sponsorship of the
Skinny Tire Festival in early March. Last year, the festival
raised $10,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer.
The shop sponsors a team for the 24 Hours of Moab, and they
also contribute in hosting the Fat Tire Festival. This October
they will host the downhill and free rides and hold the Awards
Ceremony at the shop. The Nichols are interested in encompassing
every type of rider and support local residents as well as
visitors to Moab.
of the distinguishing features of Poison Spider is their quick
turnaround time on repairs. The mechanics realize that most
visitors who bring their own wheels have only a few days in
which to enjoy the trails so they pride themselves in adjusting
and repairing bikes on the spot. For people choosing to rent
bikes, they have a wide selection of front suspension, performance
and high end demo bikes that all come with helmets, pumps,
spare tubes, and repair kits. But, the best part of shopping
at Poison Spider is the friendly, efficient treatment customers
Nichols passion extends beyond biking, and Nichols Expeditions
offers trips throughout the world, from Canyon lands to Costa
Rica. Chuck and Judy guide practically all of their expeditions
and only choose trips that really spark their interests. Chuck
explains that their philosophy on guiding is, We like
to take the same group of people on a different experience,
rather than offering the same trip over and over again to
different groups. The Nichols add three or four new trips,
which include features like sea kayaking, wine tasting and
hiking, every year. They have clients who have taken over
twenty trips with them.
spending time or traveling with Chuck and Judy, its
no wonder that they have such a loyal following. They are
warm, friendly and fun, and always seem genuinely interested
in whomever they are talking to. As Suzie Stengel, manager
of Nichols Expeditions notes, They have a fantastic
memory for names and faces and seem to remember everybody.
The Nichols have also perfected their skills at putting incredible
itineraries together that combine adventure and relaxation,
which explains why many clients also choose to charter Nichols
Expeditions to run private trips.
most recent charter trip that Chuck and Judy ran was an incredible
once-in-a-lifetime gift an Idaho husband offered his wife
for her fiftieth birthday. Upon walking into a restaurant
in Florence, Italy, the lady was surprised to find her fourteen
closest friends and an itinerary for a ten day biking tour
of the country she had been so interested in visiting. The
Nichols had conspired with her husband and friends to pack
the womans bike and gear, all unbeknownst to the birthday
girl. Judy says the trip was simply magical. Which
is the perfect word to describe the atmosphere Chuck and Judy
create on their trips thanks to their exuberance for travel
and the outdoors that they enjoy sharing with others.
Spider Bicycles is located on the north end of town at 497
N. Main Street and can be reached at (800) 635-1792 or (435)
2597882. Business hours start daily at 8:00 a.m. and close
at 6:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and at 8:00 p.m. on Friday
and Saturday. Nichols Expeditions can be reached at (800)
648-8488 or (435) 259-3999 and their web address is www.NicholsExpeditions.com.