SOUDERTON >> Scott Landes can easily list a lot of good things about bikes.
“They are relatively inexpensive.
“They are in good health.”
“They are green. They don’t harm the planet.
“It’s a low impact aerobic activity. “
Plus, “They’re fun” and “They’re cool”.
At the Souderton Borough Council meeting on April 3 where Landes’s Scooter’s Bike Shop was the focal point of business, some council members recalled their own wheelie days.
Landes, who remembers crossing the nearby park to attend classes at Summit Street Elementary School before the school closed and the building was transformed into Souderton Town Hall, hadn’t always planned on owning a bicycle shop. .
After seeing that the Landes often went to slow-speed softball games, Joe Marlin, another of the softball players, suggested that the two take a cross-country bike trip after graduating from college. Landes in 1975, said Landes.
“I thought about it for about five seconds and said, ‘Yeah, that sounds good,’” Landes said.
Departing from the Pacific Ocean, the two covered 900 miles in 12 days and had just crossed from Arizona to New Mexico when Marlin had to leave for health reasons, but Landes, who sent weekly reports to the Souderton Independent , continued.
“It was a real adventure because you really didn’t know where you were going to sleep that night. It was very exciting that way. I loved this aspect, ”said Landes.
Often times, bike shop owners would give him a meal or a place to spend the night, he said.
“They would walk maybe five or 10 miles with me in the morning, to get me on track and go back to open their stores,” Landes said.
Souderton already had a long-standing bicycle shop owned by H. Lloyd Mininger, Landes said, but soon after returning home he opened his own bicycle shop and there were two in the borough of 1975 to 1982.
Landes said he rented a store on West Broad Street on the Strip, including the Broad Theater, “bought about 30 or 40 bikes,” continued to work in his previous job building houses on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and had opened the store on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. .
After a year, he left the other job and joined the company full time.
In 1978, he bought the old Mitzi’s Dress Shop on Main Street and moved the bicycle shop there.
In 1989 he moved again, this time to the current location at 130 N. Main St., right next to his old store.
With the move to the larger store next door, including a spacious basement, he no longer had to store bikes at home in his garage, Landes said.
The current store is the former home of the Frederick shoe store, which has been there for 79 of the 150 years in business, Landes said. Jake Frederick was 93 when he took “early retirement” in 1989, Landes said.
New bicycle sales account for around 65% of its business, with bicycle service accounting for around 35%, Landes said. The store carries the Cannondale and Specialized brands. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. on Saturday. The site is at scootersbikeshop.com.
Landes, who calls himself “a boy from Souderton through and through,” said he never even thought of opening his business in another town.
With many people now shopping for items online, it has become more difficult for brick and mortar stores, but the relationships developed over the years with customers are helping, he said.
The number of independent bicycle dealers in the country continues to decline, as has happened the entire time he’s been in business, he said. When he started there were around 10,000, he said, but now there are less than 3,500.
When he was growing up, learning to ride a bike was a rite of passage, Landes said.
“It was our ticket to mobility,” he said.
“It’s not cool for a lot of kids to ride a bike anymore,” Landes said.
“They need an electronic device to play,” he said, “and they are not allowed to go out on their own.”
People have to be careful where and when they ride, but there are a lot of areas that are good for biking, he said.
One of the bikes presented at the borough council meeting was an electric bike.
It’s an example of how bikes have gotten more complicated, said Rich D’Amico, owner of Consign for Design, which features commercial spotlights.
“The technology is just amazing with bikes,” D’Amico said.
He encouraged those who shop online or at chain stores to try local retailers as well.
“You’re going to get service,” D’Amico said.