Girl Gira translates roughly to meaning something that catches your eye. The name was kind of a joke but ended up sticking. Originally our name was Track Supermarket but although this works ok in english, ‘track’ means ‘truck’ when pronounced in Japan, so it seemed confusing.
When did GIRACHA open and who is the baby on the logo?
The shop originally opened 8 years ago and was in a small 3rd floor space of a building in Osaka. Recently, that original shop has been converted into a vintage bike shop with rare and old stuff and a more intimate atmosphere while our main shop in on the ground floor of the neighbouring building and caters to everyone. There we have an espresso bar and do everything from selling parts and accessories, to doing repairs and full bike and wheel builds.
The baby on the logo is Cal and he is my son! Due to a close relationship with local pop artist Buggy, Cal’s face was used as part of a project and people laughed and seemed to like it, so we decided to use it on some of our t shirts and flyers. Cal is getting older and we feel bad for using him ( ha ha ) so next we are using a new design from Tokyo artist ESOW and another from local pinstriper GRIMB.
What made you decide to open a bike shop?
I had moved to Japan for a little adventure, and accidentally fell in love with the local cycling community, and started exporting hand made Japanese parts and frames to fans around the world who couldn’t find what they wanted locally. When I met my future wife, Sayaka, it just made sense to open a shop, because its a bit lonely just working online! Meeting people and doing repairs is much more fun that sitting at the computer, and there are relationships that you make from a shop that just aren’t possible with an online store.
Your collection is amazing, sick frames, rare parts, everything to make someone go crazy in the shop. Do you have any secret collection? Something that is off limits for the consumer?
There are things that are not listed on our web shop but we have tucked away or will be displayed in the upstairs shop for everyone to appreciate. For those who make the effort to come to our shop and show their passion, nothing in our collection is off limits, and there is tons of gear that will never be online. Actually a lot of our most interesting items are sold to local customers before we ever get a chance to take photos.
Who usually visit the shop?
Since starting the espresso bar/bicycle shop, we have been able to reach a broad range of customers from those who are only interested in coffee to die hard track bike fans. A large majority of our customers are in their 30s and 40s but there are plenty of parents who purchase bicycles and accessories for their children as well as older customers who enjoy collecting and restoring classic bicycles, and younger guys who are just getting started.
What is the store philosophy?
We try to create a comfortable atmosphere for everyone as well as educate customers and make sure they leave knowing more about their bike than they did when they came in. A lot of younger cyclists now spend all of their ‘social’ time online, and we hope that we can promote the idea that real friendships and communities happen in person, not just online. Its hard to survive as a bricks and mortar bike store these days, but I do not think we would ever go ‘internet only’, it just wouldn’t be fun. Its worth mentioning that we do not even do online sales in Japan, just the physical store sales. Pretty strange, but its always been that way for us.