Westerville Bike Shop continues after 48 years

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of iconic Westerville businesses that are featured monthly.

Mason Morgan, owner of Westerville Bike Shop, has been performing bike tune-ups and repairs as the shop’s owner and chief mechanic since 2010.

Located at 29 W. Main St., Morgan said, the business has been in the community for 48 years.

“I am the third owner,” he said. “I bought it from the second owner. I worked here before buying it. The second owner was Kurt Lehmkuhl, and the owner before that, honestly, I don’t know who it was. Kurt had owned it for 16 years before I bought it.

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Morgan, 42, said the store used to be on the east side of Main Street until 2004 when it moved to its current location.

“I grew up in Westerville, and this is the store I went to as a kid when it was across the street,” he said.

Morgan, a 1997 alumnus of Westerville South High School, is the son of Bill and Shelley Morgan, owners of Morgan’s Treasure, 31 N. State St.

The bike shop is billed as “an honest little bike shop in central Ohio since 1973,” according to its website: westervillebikeshop.com.

This is a view inside the Westerville Bike Shop on August 26.

Repairs and tune-ups help boost business, especially on Campagnolo bikes

“I feel like we welcome everyone, whether it’s a high-end bike or a kids’ bike,” Morgan said. “More than anything, we are probably focusing more on repair. We are having difficulty with inventory due to the pandemic. Sales were certainly lower than in previous years, but repair activity was higher than most years. »

He said punctures and tune-ups are what pays the bills.

“We have a few niches in the cycling world that we deal with that probably help us stand out a bit,” Morgan said. “It’s a special brand, a fairly small Italian brand that few other stores do business with – Campagnolo. We’re Campagnolo Pro-Shop certified, which means we know the ins and outs and can take care of it or fix it. We are well informed in this regard. Many other stores will not refuse it, but they are not as familiar as us. We get a lot of customers from that.

Morgan said the bike shop was the busiest it had ever been at the start of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“There was a lot of confusion at the very beginning,” he said. “We didn’t know exactly how to handle it. We did most of our business on the back patio with no one inside. We had so many repairs it took up every square inch.

“We have a floor and a building at the back. Every square inch was a repair bike. The sales floor, you couldn’t even cross it. So even if we wanted people to come, there was no had no room.”

Morgan said all business was done outside on the patio.

“We were lucky because we were always busy, unlike a lot of other companies who are still struggling,” he said. “We were very lucky in that regard. It was really nerve-wracking. We didn’t close at all. We were considered essential because of transportation.

“There were a lot of nerve-wracking days where the phone was literally ringing non-stop all day or just had a line of people around the corner. On top of that a pandemic and not really knowing how to deal with it .”

A roll of old bike stickers used by the Westerville Bike Shop in the late 1980s and 1990s are featured inside the store on August 26.

The pandemic is still causing difficulties in the supply chain

Morgan said the pandemic was still causing supply issues, resulting in the store’s low inventory of bikes.

“But we still have kids’ bikes, entry-level bikes,” he said. “Bikes range from a $400 adult bike to a $10,000 bike in the window that has all Italian Campagnolo components. We sell a lot in this brand. It was one thing. Kurt really liked road racing. This company grew out of racing. It is definitely racing oriented.

The brands the store traditionally carries are Waterford Precision Cycles, Gunnar Cycles, Orbea and Bianchi.

Morgan said the store was getting a pretty big boost in business leading up to Pelotonia, a three-day ride that raises money for cancer research.

“It’s probably not as big as some of the other big stores,” he said. “We have a fairly good recurring clientele. We’ve had a lot of customers coming here since it was across the street or even before Kurt owned it. So that’s really cool. It’s the kind of store I want ideally, it’s one that has a relationship with the people who walk in.

He said the company currently has four other employees.

Westerville South High School alum Warren Shively is a mechanic and helps where needed.

“It was a cool place to go and hang out,” Shively said. “I love the people, the work and what I do.”

Morgan said Shively had been a friend of the store for many years before becoming a recent employee.

“Having a connection to the neighborhood is rewarding for us,” Morgan said. “I see a lot of people from my past, which is cool. I never thought I would end up in Westerville. I lived in Chicago, Texas. I live in Columbus. Obviously, I have an attachment to Westerville. My family is here and, of course, my business. I never thought I would be back in Westerville, but I’m glad I am.

Columbus resident Jon Nessel asked the store to put new tires on his bike he picked up on August 26. He said he liked the store because of his old-school knowledge.

“Old school is good school,” Nessel said. “It’s not a chain store. It’s one of a kind. And it smells like a bike shop should – of lube.

A recent review on Google by Dave Minc said he was returned to the store for a warranty claim – a cracked frame.

“I worked primarily with Mason, although everyone I dealt with over a few months was unfailingly polite and helpful in explaining the process, submitting and following up on my application,” he wrote. “I don’t live locally and they were willing to manage as much as possible via email which saved me travel costs and a lot of hassle. In the end, my claim was successfully acknowledged and they assisted with final shipping and providing documentation not provided by the company. »

Minc said the store received no financial compensation for its work on the entire transaction.

“I had purchased the bike from another dealer who had left the business and they did not sell me any other ancillary parts or service. In every way, Westerville Bike Shop exceeded expectations.

Another Google reviewer of Spencer Milligan said he bought his bike in mint condition for a more than reasonable price.

“(I) will stay here again in the future, although it’s not my closest option,” he said.

T-shirts are among the merchandise available at the Westerville Bike Shop, as seen on August 26.  The dog represents Penny, Morgan's deceased dog, who died almost two years ago and was a customer favourite.

Morgan said her late shop dog, Penny, who died nearly two years ago, was a favorite among customers.

His image is on the logo of the bike shop and the T-shirts for sale there.

“She’s immortalized through the store,” Morgan said. “She was here almost every day. People just came to see her.

Hours of operation are 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. It’s closed on Sundays.

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