When Ashley and Tony Wood moved back to Nova Scotia, they created a business that has struck a chord with cyclists and musicians alike.
And, the entrepreneurs couldn’t be happier with what they’re creating.
The Woods, both originally from Windsor, first opened the doors to The Spoke and Note to the public on March 20, 2017. It’s now a hub of activity.
They’ve made it their mission to welcome all levels of fitness and music ability through their doors.
“Everybody is welcome, everybody,” Ashley Wood said, smiling.
The Woods both have a background in music, with Tony’s father, the late Willard Wood, operating Moe’s Place Music Sales in town for many years. When that business sold, it was transformed into a music academy.
“By the time Ash and I moved back to Windsor, there was no actual music store and I just had a hard time,” said Tony. “I couldn’t live in Windsor without it having a music store, essentially.”
The couple discussed starting their own business and thought pairing their passion for cycling and music would make a successful year-round venture.
“Having a glass of wine a couple of winters ago, we got brainstorming ideas and The Spoke and Note came out. After that, we were pretty committed. It was a great name,” said Tony.
He said it’s pretty surprising how often people walk through the door that share the same love of music and cycling.
“I think it’s hilarious how often this happens, when someone comes in and their two passions are biking and music — ‘Finally, a store for me!’” he said with a laugh.
“I thought it would be one or the other… but so many cyclists are also musicians or vice versa. They do go well together.”
The store primarily offers music sales, repairs and lessons, and bike sales, repairs and service. The walls are lined with instruments while bikes adorn much of the floor space.
But the store offers much more than that.
“It’s always evolving but it’s much more like a general store,” he said. “It’s a good, fun-time general store.”
The owners are continually expanding to meet the needs of the area.
When a few children popped by to inquire about scooters, the Woods looked into it. They now sell scooters.
When they realized there was no place to get skates sharpened in town anymore, Tony purchased a unit and incorporated that service into the store.
Around the same time, they introduced basic hockey equipment (laces, wax, skate guards) for sale.
“It doesn’t have to be a Cleve’s or Canadian Tire selection but we should have the basics here,” said Tony, noting for the Birthplace of Hockey, athletes shouldn’t have to travel to the Annapolis Valley or the city to get standard supplies.
They also offer disc golf equipment and rentals, which is becoming a popular sport in Hants County due to the course at Haliburton House Museum.
They also carry some high-performance nutrition and clothing.
“We have water and special nutrition for cyclists, runners and hikers that you can’t really get at a grocery store or drug store. You can only get it at a bike shop,” said Ashley, noting more and more people are stopping in Windsor to check them out as they tour the region.
But they’re quick to point out it’s not all about business. The Woods are passionate about being involved in the community. They host two weekly riding sessions — Mondays for women and Wednesdays for everyone. Afterwards, they meet at the Spitfire Arms Pub or Schoolhouse Brewery for a social drink. Prior to COVID-19 restrictions, upwards of 30 people would join in for the rides.
“We want to be super inclusive to whoever wants to join,” said Ashley, noting cycling can be intimidating but they’re working to change that perception. The social aspect also serves to benefit other downtown businesses.
On Saturdays, pre-COVID, jam sessions were held at the store. They hope to resume them when it’s safe to do so.
“We are invested in this town and we wanted to do something we believed in that also contributed to the town, and the downtown especially,” said Tony of The Spoke and Note’s mission. “This was kind of a massive net gain for us and I feel for the town and the community. It’s a total win.”
And even though they are a small business, the couple can bring in many big store items.
“We do match all the big box stores,” she said, noting if they can price match, they will.
“We focus a lot on affordability. We want to make sure people can afford things,” she said.
The store, located at 85 Water St., is currently open Tuesday to Saturday but as COVID-19 concerns and restrictions ease, they’re looking at extending hours.
The couple say they’re happy to have settled back in Windsor and hope to make a positive contribution to the region.