Cindy Swift is one half of the partnership at Riverbrook Bike and Ski located at 10538 Main Street. You’ll find them across the street from Hayward Coffee Company and at the corner of Hwy 53 in the beautiful old Carnegie Library building. Cindy and her partner Tim Swift (also her ex-husband), have owned and operated this location for the past eight years in this building. The business itself has been in existence for 16 years – started under a previous owner. At that time the focus was a bike store with locations in Spooner and Seeley, Wisconsin. When the rental building in Spooner was sold, Tim and Cindy sought out a new site for the primary business and found Hayward.

The Seeley store remained open for a while because it provided perfect access to the trail system and clients who used the Birkie trail. Now the business is housed only in the historic Hayward building and serve cyclists, skiers and general outdoor enthusiasts. After all, Hayward is a hub of activity for outdoor enthusiasts, and Riverbrook Bike and Ski will serve all those looking for clothing, equipment and accessories for outdoor activities.

There are four year-round employees. Tim, Cindy, and two full-time staff members keep the doors open seven days a week. In the summer additional high school staff help with the increased seasonal traffic. It is here where you’ll find exceptional customer service, after all, their products can be purchased elsewhere but you’ll not find the exceptional interaction that Tim, Cindy and staff provide. The product line includes casual and outdoor clothing, bikes, skis, accessories, and everything that goes with them. The technical services available to put those wonderful pieces in action includes bike setup and repair, ski waxing, grinding and fitting. They are experts at getting the beginner and intermediate enthusiast started, fitted, and out the door.

Cindy’s hobbies center around biking--mostly the wooded trail system, and Nordic skiing. She is 100% involved in the sports that she sells and loves helping others do the same. Her reward is to help others get fit and help them spend quality family time. She even teaches skiing to adults and kids in the little spare time that is available. In fact, this past December about 100 women held a skiing program with wine, chocolate and did we mention—skiing? The enthusiasm there was hard to match.

The pros and elites are well on their way to having everything they need, so Riverbrook caters more to beginner and intermediate clients who need to get started in the right way. Skiing is very technique-oriented and not always about the equipment, so until one figures out what he/she is doing, the right entry-level equipment is the wisest option.

According to Cindy, “We live here in Hayward by choice and love everything the community has to offer. We’re unique because we’re so actively engaged and enthusiastic; our business is more than a transaction. We want to hear your story. That’s what we small businesses do. We’re not sharing anything you can’t get off the internet, but you won’t get the personal service that you get here.” This is what sets them apart from other similar sporting goods retailers. It is the goal of Riverbrook staff to help their clients leave a little bit better because of the probing questions they ask during the shopping experience. And that one little thing describes them perfectly; they’re different. “Boutique shops like ours are an experience”, says Cindy.

We asked her how she got her start in the fitness business. She grew up in Quincy, Illinois, on a farm along the Mississippi River. A college professor told her about Hayward; she started cycling with a club he was involved in. In 1984 he dared her to bike the Chequamegon Fat Tire race as it ‘was as hard as anything on earth’ so she did it. Two years later she saw the Birkie race and started skiing that. Now 22 Birkie races later, she’s as enthusiastic as ever about her life choices. You can’t replace experience and history like the races and sports.

Business ownership is a curse and a blessing; you’re tired but energized. Neither of the partners could do it by themselves but together they’ve formed a unique working bond that brings enthusiasm and quality product/service to downtown Hayward, Wisconsin. “Working for myself has changed the way I do business with anybody”, states Cindy. “If I patronize another business, it’s a blessing. If people could understand that a purchase at a small business is a blessing, perhaps more small businesses would stay in business longer. We’re here to share what we know, personalize the transaction and get you what we think is best. There’s no gimmick, no pitch, just good honest business.”

You’ll find Riverbrook Bike and Ski at www.riverbrookbike.com and make sure you LIKE them on Facebook. Watch them continue to grow and perhaps soon you’ll be able to come take a selfie at the photo op space next to the shop. They just need to get a few more details in order before that expansion comes to fruition – but watch for it. Follow them!

CONTACT Riverbrook Bike & Ski