After more than 18 years with Starbucks, self-described coffee geek Vincent Rodriguez was ready for a change in careers. But there was one condition: His new career had to include his beloved coffee.
His new bike shop, Velo + , (a play on the French word for bicycle) is now open in Old Town Lenexa and it will soon have a cafe where he will sell his custom-roasted coffee beans, along with espresso beverages, teas and pastries.
“I wanted to challenge myself, to open my own shop and showcase my bicycles, showcase my ability in the way of coffee,” he said. “ It’s the best of both worlds — coffee and bicycles.”
Velo + offers some bicycle brands that are a bit unique to the area, such as Kona, Masi and Linus, as well as custom-built bicycles made in-house. He also carries mostly Made in America cycling apparel and accessories. There’s also a lounge area where customers can sit to watch TV (cycling events when available), or just hang out to chat about their hobby.
In the back, Rodriguez repairs bikes and provides tune-ups. It’s also where he builds custom frames.
His father was a professional cyclist in Mexico for Team Pepsi, he said. The family later moved to Dallas and Rodriguez transferred to the Kansas City area seven years ago while working for Starbucks. He now lives in Lenexa, less than three miles from his new shop.
“We used to ride everywhere. Now with this shop I have the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion with everyone,” he said.
He’ll offer a bike frame-building class on July 22 at the shop at 13440 Santa Fe Trail Drive. The cafe is scheduled to open in late September.Prairiefire updates
Kiss co-founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons have set a new opening date for their area Rock Brews restaurant and bar. It is now scheduled to open in early 2014.
A year ago, Rock Brews announced a fall 2013 opening in Overland Park’s Prairiefire development, now under construction on 135th Street between Lamar and Nall avenues.
Rock Brews celebrates “rock roll, beers, burgers, brats, pizza and more.” The 6,000-square-foot venues feature casual American cuisine, a full bar including premium wines and craft beers, and an atmosphere reminiscent of a backstage concert environment featuring concert lighting, multiple televisions and concert-style rock music. The Prairiefire location will have a heated outdoor patio and play area for children.
Stanley and Simmons said they have opportunities to open Rock Brews around the world, but they are planning a methodical expansion of the brand. Three locations are open in California and Mexico, and four more are in development in California, Hawaii and New Mexico.
Brothers Dell and Dave Furano, veteran rock promoters, and restaurateur Michael Zislis, also are founding partners in the Rock Brew concept.
Prairiefire is a 58-acre, mixed-use development that will future upscale restaurants and retail, entertainments, large outdoor recreational area, luxury residences, a luxury boutique hotel, and office spaces.
Other new tenants planned for Prairiefire include a nail salon called French Tip Wax and a second Overland Park location for Toner Jewelry to be called Toner Jewelers. Both locally owned businesses plan spring 2014 openings.Store openings
• Ross Dress for Less plans to open its new Olathe store at 15350 W. 119th St., on Saturday. Ross offers “first-quality” in-season, name-brand and designer apparel, accessories and footwear for the entire family, along with home fashions. It says its customers save 20 percent to 60 percent off regular department and specialty store prices.
• Staples also plans a Saturday opening at 11880 W. 95th St., Overland Park.