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Electric Bike Café is becoming a 'one-stop shop' for customers

The café in South Portland is Maine's only electric bike shop, but you can also buy coffee and now beer.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Electric Bike Café in South Portland doesn't just sell electric bikes. They also repair bikes and tennis racquets, and they sell coffee and food -- and now alcohol.

Thaddeus St. John, the owner of Electric Bike Cafe, said he wanted his shop to be different than the rest. 

“Every customer that walks in is like, 'What is this place? What are you all doing here?'"

St. John's one-stop shop opened a year ago. He said they had a few struggles at first. 

“We hadn't gotten the license yet for bikes, so we were joking that we would sell a cup of coffee for $3,000 and then just give someone a bike,” St. John added.

Once the shop started selling e-bikes, employees realized they needed something else to get customers in the door. But he and his team quickly learned that selling coffee and bikes wasn't going to be enough to pay the bills.

“We couldn't just be a coffee shop, we couldn't just be a bike shop, and when one kind of slows down a little bit the other one picks up," St. John added.

So, Electric Bike Cafe added bar to its roster, now running as a bar at night, selling a wide variety of alcoholic beverages. 

The e-bike store in South Portland has sure gotten a lot of eyes from locals. 

“It's a great place to grab a coffee and a bite," customer Lucy Comasaey said. "I don't typically ride bikes, but I love that it's a unique space and has something different."

To St. John, selling electric bikes is more than just a model for his small business.

“When people drive their cars less, it's more sustainable. And when people start seeing an e-bike as transportation rather than recreation, it changes the whole game," he added.

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