More stores likely, including in London

The “concept store” idea has been around for almost 20 years now, allowing makers of usually high-end goods to market a lifestyle as well as selling their products.

Following a trail that was blazed by the fashion industry, Specialized was the first bike retailer to develop its own such outlets and now Bianchi is following suit, albeit in its own inimitable style.

Tomorrow in Stockholm the venerable Italian firm opens the first in what looks like being a chain of Cafè&Cycles concept stores. Situated in the heart of the Swedish capital’s fashionable Norrlandsgatan shopping district, the first Bianchi Cafè&Cycles store was unveiled to the press earlier this week.

The company says it is the first concept store in the world combining the strength of the Bianchi brand with a wide selection of typical Italian food and wine. Well, it would be wouldn’t, it?

The idea, says Bianchi, was to create a special place where avid bike enthusiasts and bar guests interested in interior design can meet, share experiences and talk while enjoying the best of Italy. The café has 94 seats indoors and 30 seats on the patio.

And while sipping on an espresso, punters will be able to feast their eyes on a range of Bianchi bikes including the new Oltre road model (with the Black - Limited Edition version), the Sempre one, the Urban Fixed Gear bikes, the Camaleonte models as well as the MTB Methanol SL and  the company's City Bikes.

“By opening the Bianchi Café&Cycles, a new chapter in Bianchi’s history has been written,” said Salvatore Grimaldi, owner and chief group manager of Cycleurope AB and Bianchi at the press launch.

“We have combined our brand and our celeste colour with the beauty of Italy: it is a perfect blend of passion, style and design. The made-in-Italy label is known all over the world and our mission is to increase the global awareness of our products through this kind of initiative.”

Bianchi plans to identify additional markets for the Bianchi Cafe&Cycles concept. “Of course we have to see the reaction from the public but our aim is to open other stores in different countries starting from Milan, then Tokyo, New York and London. It is an ambitious project but I’m ready to go for that, ” Grimaldi added.

Bianchi CEO Bob Ippolito who also attended the press launch in Stockholm, said: “Cycling is lifestyle but food is lifestyle too. That’s why it’s a winning mix to combine our high quality bikes with a special Italian menu to offer customers a fantastic experience in a warm and inspiring atmosphere, surrounded by the photos of those who wrote the most important pages of Bianchi’s history”.