5 Questions with Stephen Ambruzs of Downshift – Handcrafted Bikes & Brews
Gear. Bikes. Beer.
Sounds like the perfect recipe for a community gathering place.
And you’ll find it at the newly opened Downshift – Handcrafted Bikes & Brews on Campbell Avenue in Roanoke. Downshift has a “mission to get more people into riding bikes and bring bicycling to life,” said Stephen Ambruzs, owner of the bike shop and café. “We want to be a part of the growing cycling community in Roanoke and create a comfortable space.”
Downshift sells bikes – city, recreational, and adventure models perfect for tooling through neighborhoods or exploring the greenway – does repairs, and includes a café with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus craft coffee and beer on tap. The shop also includes plenty of other gear from shirts to bike parts to growlers. And if you want a custom bike, Ambruzs can take care of that, too.
Downshift’s grand opening is Wednesday, Nov. 1. The shop will have food a beverage specials all day, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
5 Questions with Ambruzs
1. What made you want to open a bike shop?
“I’m a mechanic at heart and like fixing things and working with my hands. I’m happy to work to make something better,” he said. Further, Ambruzs said he likes the atmosphere and bike community and wants to “be a bike shop for everybody.”
2. Where do the brews come in?
“Retail is changing because of the internet and I wanted to have something that creates an experience for customers. Beer is a natural fit with cycling and I want to support the local craft industry and have a space where it all comes together.”
3. What should a first-time visitor expect to find at Downshift?
“A smiling face.”
4. Why did you decide to open in Roanoke?
Ambruzs has a connection to the region as a Virginia Tech graduate, but spent a few years on the West Coast before starting a business here. “Affordability and low cost of living, the momentum of Roanoke’s growth, and access to the outdoors. It’s wonderful.”
5. What will the classes and community events look like?
“They will focus on how to enjoy the riding experience.” Ambruzs plans to have a variety of classes, host neighborhood rides, and help more people get access to the riding community.