Goodbye I.D., Hello bike shop!

So I’m walking away from my current I.D. career and taking over the family business. Luckily for me, the family business is a 4500 sq. ft bicycle shop that has been cruising along since 1964. I cut my creative teeth in that shop, building little robots from the parts drawers as a kid, building displays as a teenager and learning the art of the sale as a young adult. 15 years ago I moved to Chicago and began a career in graphic design, which evolved into interior and product design. Now I’m anxious to take everything I’ve learned and bring it back home.

I’ll miss designing every day, but the allure of shop ownership and especially job security are too great. Having a son recently also contributed to the decision. What really put me over the top however is the additional 4500 sq ft. of awesome, raw loft space on the 2nd floor that has never been tapped for retail. In a few years I will have a completely remodeled 9,000 sq ft shop smack dab between Chicago and Milwaukee that I get to design myself. Hoo-Rah!!

I hope selling bicycles to the world makes me feel less guilty about the massive carbon footprint of Chinese made landfill I’ve racked up over the years. I’m sorry mother Earth.

Keep an eye out in the future for the shop to end all shops. I’m not stopping until jaws are dropping, and the competition trembles with fear.


This is perfect- I’m looking for a new bike!

Hopefully I will soon be meeting you- and good luck on your new endeavor!

Congrats! I’d love to own a shop some day.

I guess the best advice I can give you came from the service department at the shop I worked at for years. Behind the counter was a small plastic bag with ear plugs and a sign that said “Your bottom bracket isn’t creaking.”

Best of luck to you.

Thanks, I’ll be there in September and I’ll totally hook you up.

Back in the early 1990’s, when mountain biking was really taking off, I convinced my folks to order the very first Manitou suspension fork. We became the only shop in the area to carry the high end stuff and it continues to this day. So if you feel the itch and want to drop thousands of dollars on a bike we’re your hook up. :smiley:

That was a really cool era, because there were a ton of little independent manufacturers (American, no less) that where designing and manufacturing custom parts. Cook’s Brothers. and Kooka cranks, Nuke Proof and Chris King hubs, Ringle
water bottle cages and accessories…You name it.

Suggestions and old bike shop war stories are much appreciated in this thread.

“I hope selling bicycles to the world makes me feel less guilty about the massive carbon footprint of Chinese made landfill I’ve racked up over the years. I’m sorry mother Earth.”


That pretty much described my obsessions in my adolescent years. I have a friend who has an original manitou, still. Cool stuff.

A couple shops in my town that are doing things right (in my opinion)

Angry Catfish Bicycles and Coffee

  • Deals predominately in high end and local builders. One of the first Rapha dealers outside of NY, Chicago, San Fran, etc. I know the owner pretty well. Can point you in his direction if you are interested.

Freewheel Bike

  • Much larger dealer selling mostly Trek, but also custom builders (Waterford, Moots, Indy Fab, etc.) But the bread and butter is Trek stuff. Expanded to 3 locations in the last couple years, and every shop fits it’s neighborhood and purpose, not just a cookie cutter shop like other chains in town. Also know the owner pretty well…

What city is your shop in? If I’m ever in the area I’d love to stop and check it out.

I’ve been thinking about getting a bike. It may be a good time to stop by and say hello.


You should become a Firefly (Tyler, Jamie and Kevin from Indy Fab) dealer.


I love those early years in mountain biking to. I still own a Mountain Cycle San Andreas mostly for its insane construction. I have a fantasy about collecting old mountain bikes and restoring them with tricked out parts. When I worked in shops I use to love going through the old parts bins and finding crazy stuff like old Paul rear derailleurs and things like that. It was pretty awesome back in the day with range of crazy products that made it to market such as (AMP tech forks and frames) kind of scary really.

So, where exactly is

between Chicago and Milwaukee ?


Good luck!

Knowing several shop owners I know it is a tough business. Can you hook-up an IDer with some Interbike passes and a QBP price list?


Close! It’s in Zion IL. Luckily we are only a few blocks from the Zion Metra station, so anyone coming from Chicago can take the train.

Any that walks into the shop will get an automatic discount. :smiley:

I’ll take a look at those shops and bike companies for sure.

I’m working on a web site re-design, so please DO NOT look at for at least another month. :blush: My folks still write up bike records by hand, so you can imagine what kind of nightmare the current website is.

Good luck, it’s nice to be able to pursue your dreams. I just wish I had the balls to do it! :smiley:

You really should post this on the wall of your office (or the door to your shop):

Truer words could not be written.

Sweet. Was this missing?

If your rims have spokes or are hubless, it’s cool.

Congrats on the career move, and best of luck to you. It would be amazing to have the chance to move into the bike world a bit more. Im going to be in the market for some new wheels soon, so Ill have to run up there next time Im in CHI.

Im in the market for a nice cruiser, i think i will take you up on the discount! you say you will start in Sept?

Chevis W.

Mid-August now. Come on in!

How are things at the bike shop? :wink:

The shop life is sweet! My hands are always dirty and I wear the same style of t-shirt every day. :smiley: I ride to work almost daily and love interacting with customers again. I miss my Pro/e but I surely don’t miss being chained to a desk all day. I went to Interbike in Vegas last week and drooled all over some wheelsets that really need to be on my bike!

It’s really great promoting and selling the cycling lifestyle. I can sell bikes with a clear conscious knowing that people will get a little exercise and keep their cars parked for a little while.

The cast of characters who frequent (and work at) the shop should be filmed. It would make a great reality TV show.