This article was written by Brandon Glass and originally appeared in the Cumberland Times-News, April 23rd, 2021
Wheelzup Adventures held its grand opening Friday afternoon on the downtown Cumberland mall. The business will offer local tours, shuttles, bike rentals and sell gear and apparel.
CUMBERLAND — Wheelzup Adventures, located at 86 Baltimore St. on the downtown mall, held its grand opening Friday with the mayor and a small, socially distanced crowd of local dignitaries and outdoor enthusiasts decked out in bicycling gear in attendance.
The business, which provides local tours, shuttles and bike rentals, also sells gear and apparel, stating on its website that its mission is to “facilitate self-discovery in the outdoors” using its three pillars — access, knowledge and community.
The desire is to be an all-around outdoor resource for the community and tourists looking to explore the many sights and activities the area has to offer, said owners Mandela and Jamie Echefu.
The Echefus opened a ribbon-cutting ceremony with some brief words about their shared history, being Frostburg State University graduates and having three children.
Jamie grew up in LaVale and Mandela immigrated from Nigeria and came to Cumberland for work, fell in love and decided to call Western Maryland home.
“I’ve decided to really make this place home. What we’re trying to do really — our mission is to facilitate self-discovery outdoors,” Mandela Echefu said. “I think there is no better place to do it than Cumberland. There are so many opportunities both for businesses and individuals.”
Wheelzup Adventures is an outgrowth of Wheels Up, a shuttle service the couple has operated for the past two years.
The first floor of the business has skateboards, shorts and shoes adorning the floor, water bottles on shelves and helmets above the cash register. The top floor had a kayak, a smattering of bikes and backpacks.
“This is exactly what our community needs is businesses like this that have visions like Mandela and Jamie have,” Cumberland Mayor Ray Morriss said. “This is going to be the future of our street, of Baltimore Street, and it’s already beginning before the constructions starts. We’re starting to see a revitalization of our downtown businesses and our downtown community.”
City officials recently said the $9.7 million Baltimore Street Redevelopment Project, which was expected to break ground in the fall, would not likely get underway until spring 2022. The project, which includes reinstalling Baltimore Street through the downtown pedestrian mall, has been pushed back several times. Those delays, officials have said, are due to projects involving street renovations requiring lengthy state and federal evaluation periods before approvals are issued.