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Grass Valley

Meet your merchant: Raised on off-roading, Lance and Jennah McIntosh now have their own store catering to dirt bikers and ATVs

It was a perfect first date, but not the kind one would expect.

Jennah and Lance McIntosh had both grown up on dirt bikes, so it only made sense to hit the back roads while getting to know each other. Each was impressed by the other's riding ability. Fast forward, the couple is now married with two children, ages 3 and 6. But they also have a new baby, their Grass Valley off-roading shop, NorCal Rider's Choice.

Having spent much of their childhoods in Grass Valley riding dirt bikes and ATVs with their families, Jennah and Lance had both dreamed of one day opening an off-roading shop that would feature a retail store with an adjacent space to provide minor repairs and service. When a longtime Grass Valley motorcycle shop, Moto Elite, closed its doors, the McIntoshes saw the opportunity to pursue their own business.

"Lance was working for a metal fabricator and I was a stay-at-home mom," said Jennah. "I was ready to go back to work and Lance liked the idea of being his own boss."

The McIntoshes scoured the area for a space with easy freeway access and zoning that would allow for both retail and bike/ATV repair. They finally found a spacious spot at the end of Olympia Park Road in Grass Valley's Glenbrook Basin. Friends and family pitched in to help fix up the 2,400 square-foot weathered building that had been sitting empty after serving as home to Airgas for more than 20 years.

"We redid the entire building," said Jennah. "We used 30 gallons of paint and pulled out the flooring. With the help of friends and family, we worked on it for three whole months before we opened."

The couple was able to offer an impressive inventory right away, thanks to Jennah's aunt and uncle, who own a dirt bike store in Lancaster, Calif., where Jennah had worked as a teen.

"They let us carry some of their items on consignment — both new and used," said Lance. "Today we continue to sell some items on consignment, but we now also have four distributors."

The showroom floor now carries a broad selection of apparel, helmets, boots, T-shirts, oil, tires, engine parts, accessories and more.

"For some reason our hat sales are huge," said Jennah. "We didn't anticipate that. People like our casual wear in general. We try to keep prices fair."

Lance, whose dad was a mechanic, works on a broad spectrum of dirt bikes, ATVs and more recently "UTVs," which have exploded in popularity.

A UTV, which stands for Utility Task Vehicle or Utility Terrain Vehicle, is also commonly known as a side by side. Similar to ATVs or All-Terrain Vehicles, UTVS are generally larger and use a steering wheel with pedals for the brake and gas instead of handlebars. Most also have seat belts and "roll over protection."

"UTV sales are really growing — people love them because you can go on sand, mud and snow — they're a step above an ATV," said Lance. "They're fast, fun and versatile. The modifications are endless, it just depends on the size of your pocketbook."

Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, Polaris, Can-Am — Lance has experience working on a broad variety of models. But he's also quick to mention that Jennah also has a vast knowledge of bikes and parts.

"We're both just happy to be here — we've got awesome, loyal customers who understand we're a young family with kids," said Jenna. "It's the kind of business where we make a point of knowing our customers by name. Some people just like to drop by and talk about bikes."

To contact Cory Fisher, email her at