Waco-based Texas Endurance Sports, which owns cycling and triathlon stores in Katy and Houston, has bought the Outdoor Waco shop at University Parks Drive and Franklin Avenue and will continue to sell the current product mix there that includes bicycles, kayaks, and cycling accessories and apparel.
“We are excited about the opportunity to enter our home market, and we are thrilled with Outdoor Waco’s well-established location and talented personnel,” said Todd Behringer, chairman and CEO of Texas Endurance Sports LLC, in a prepared statement that confirmed the acquisition.
Outdoor Waco was opened in 2012 by four local partners and has become popular with outdoors enthusiasts wanting to buy bicycles, paddleboats or kayaks, or to rent equipment for use on the nearby Brazos River or at Cameron Park. It also operates a full-service bike repair shop and serves gourmet coffee.
“We plan to remain active in the community, hosting weekly rides, clinics and various event sponsorships,” Behringer continued in his statement. “We will continue to explore the opportunities that the nearby Brazos River and Cameron Park provide.”
The partners in Outdoor Waco — Ryan Gibson, Mark Owen, Steve Findley and Chris DeLeenHeer — referred all comment on the deal to Behringer, who did not return phone calls or email messages seeking further information about the transaction and his vision for the shop.
Scott James, president and head of Texas operations for Texas Endurance Sports LLC, said in a statement, “We see the Waco and Central Texas market as a vast opportunity to expand the Bicycle World brand to our hometown. With our commitment to customers, staff, products and community, we feel the timing is perfect.”
The company operates under the names Bicycle World and BW Triathlon Pro Shops at its stores in Houston and Katy.
Its website already shows the Waco store as being part of the Bicycle World family, and indicates that another location soon will open in The Woodlands, a Houston suburb.
Behringer said Texas Endurance Sports plans to re-brand Outdoor Waco to feature the company’s trade name, “but has no plans to alter the current product mix going forward.”
He said he and James both are Baylor University graduates “and are heavily invested in the vision for downtown Waco and Baylor University.”
Behringer made his fortune in the pawn business, having sold his Waco-based Top Dollar Pawn to Fort Worth-based Cash America Pawn in 2013 for $102.5 million.
Top Dollar Pawn had 41 locations statewide at the time of the sale, including four in Waco, and has a presence in the major markets of Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio.
Top Dollar started in 1994 as a single store in Cleburne, but steadily grew with its “superstore” concept under Behringer’s leadership.
Behringer made headlines late last year when he sold a towering home under construction on Ridgewood Drive, near Lake Waco, to prominent Waco businessman Clifton Robinson and his wife, Betsy. Robinson said Behringer, the son of a longtime friend, approached him about taking the house off his hands.
At that time, Robinson said, “He’s considering moving out of the city, and he didn’t want to be held back by that big house.”
Rusty Steed, manager of Bicycles Outback, 4707 W. Waco Drive, said he is not familiar with the bicycle shops operated by Texas Endurance Sports in other cities. But he said the company is entering a market in which interest in bicycle riding and outdoor activities is growing.
“We’re seeing an influx of people from other areas, and they want to bring their sports with them,” he said, adding that the 400-acre Cameron Park and its 15-mile trail system attract national-level cyclists with its scenery and safety.
“You don’t have to worry about idiots in cars running you over,” he said.