by Lisa Schauer
The aptly named Trail Depot opened recently across North Washington Street from Berkeley Springs train depot, the historic railway station and trailhead for a planned North Berkeley Rail Trail, expected to open within the next couple of years, connecting the town to a nationwide network of bike trails.
Over 800 people showed up for Trail Depot’s grand opening on Memorial Day weekend, which included a band, a food truck and giveaways.
Chockfull of high-end and practical outdoor gear, equipment and clothing, Trail Depot offers an array of quality lifestyle brands, along with information and advice on recreational activities. A full-service bicycle repair shop is also on site.
A bright mural depicting a topographical map was painted by a local artist and adorns the building’s exterior. Under an obscure wooden street sign, a large compass is emblazoned on the parking lot.
Inside, a carved wooden canoe suspends from a corrugated roof with exposed ductwork, creating a fun, industrial vibe.
Kayaks, fishing gear, paddleboards, inner tubes, camping equipment, e-bikes, mountain bikes, back packs, sunglasses and outdoor apparel are all tastefully displayed. Free Starbucks coffee is available at a counter with informational displays on local outdoor activities available.
“We always wondered, why isn’t there an outdoor store in Berkeley Springs? We always had to go elsewhere to patch together the things we needed for the weekend,” said Alex Teixeira (pronounced “tesh-era”), owner of Trail Depot, with his wife, Amanda, an avid climber.
The Teixeiras are both outdoor enthusiasts originally from Maryland. They have long enjoyed fishing, camping, kayaking, hiking and biking in the area.
“One day, we saw the price was reduced on this building. She said, ‘I like it,’ and we put in an offer that week. We decided we wanted to share our love for the outdoors with everyone else in Berkeley Springs,” said Alex Teixeira, who served in the U.S. Army and spent a year in Antarctica.
For now, the couple lives in the building’s upstairs apartment, until they can move into their property in Sleepy Creek.
“We’re happy to facilitate getting people outside and active. It’s healthy!” explains Alex Teixeira.
He says customers have been coming in to Trail Depot from the D.C. area, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Winchester, but that he and his wife still want to keep their focus on creating access for the local community.
With miles of new mountain bike trails and a skills park at Cacapon Resort State Park, Berkeley Springs is seeing a growing market of mountain bike enthusiasts.
The new mountain bike trails at the state park are good for business, Teixeira says, as more visitors are being drawn to the area for mountain biking.
At the other end of U.S. 522 in Hancock is the nearby C&O Canal towpath and Western Maryland Rail Trail, which draws large numbers of bicyclists making the journey on two wheels from Pittsburgh to D.C. and beyond.
Nationwide, the sport of mountain bike riding is gaining in popularity. It is expected to grow by over $13.5 billion in the next four years, according to industry surveys.
Alex Teixeira says Trail Depot is coordinating with the owners of C&O Bicycles in Hancock, making sure they offer different brands of mountain bikes and e-bikes, such as a new e-trike model for novices available at Trail Depot.
The couple intends to open a small café in their outdoor seating area with free Wi-Fi, creating a space to meet up, and host community events and clinics, such as “Try it Tuesday,” when folks can demo equipment on site or on location for a few hours for free after work.
On Tuesday, July 11 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Trail Depot will be kicking off their “Try it Tuesday” series at Cacapon State Park’s lower lake boat ramp. Kayaks and paddleboards will be available for the public to try for free.
Other future plans include organizing outdoor activities such as a community bike ride, hike and paddle, making s’mores and other campfire staples in the parking lot with a camp stove, hosting mountain bike clinics for women and novices, and sponsoring a local youth mountain bike club and scholarship fund for local students.
Trail Depot is located at 347 N. Washington Street. Hours are Monday, Thursday and Friday from 12 to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
For more information about Trail Depot and their upcoming events, follow them on social media or call 301-458-1183.