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New Bike Shop owner has homegrown business plan

By BRET LIEBENDORFER
Published: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 9:56 AM EST

The Westerville Bike Shop has a new owner, but don't expect many changes. Mason Morgan, 31, took over ownership of the well-known Uptown business, located at 29 W. Main St., one month ago. "My goal is to keep the integrity of the shop and its standing in the community.

"The biggest difference will be a dog to greet you," Morgan said with a laugh when referring to Penny, his friendly pet. Morgan said the Westerville Bike Shop opened in 1973 and was bought by Kurt Lehmkuhl in 1994. In 2004, Lehmkuhl moved the shop from 12 E. Main St. to its historic, renovated two-story house near Otterbein College.

Central Ohio recent booming in cycling has brought more bike shops to the region, but Morgan said he's not worried about the market being over-saturated.. "If the number of shops is growing that means there's more people riding bikes," Morgan said. "I wouldn't own a shop if I didn't want more people riding bikes."

Many of those new shops are corporate in nature, and Morgan said his shop will continue to have a "mom-and-pop feel." Employees, which he plans to hire in the spring, will not watch sales videos or wear uniforms. Currently Morgan works 60 hours a week and runs the shop by himself. "I'll be the one working on the bikes," he said. "You won't interact with someone that doesn't care."

Another goal is to remain personable and continue Lehmkuhl's dedication to customer service. "I want to remain a nice-guy bike shop," Morgan said. There may be some minor changes in brands offered, Morgan said, but most of the diverse selection of brands -- from companies like Bianchi, Redline, Biria, Marin, Gunnar, Waterford and Merlin -- will remain the same.The shop also stocks a large selection of components made by Campagnolo, an Italian company that specializes in high-end road racing parts, but Morgan said he wants everyone to feel welcomed at his shop and it will not have the pretension found in others.

While this is his first business, Morgan is well versed when it comes to bicycles. He has worked at various shops in Central Ohio for the last seven years, including the Westerville Bike Shop, and as a bike messenger downtown. Morgan also finds time to ride mountain bikes at Alum Creek before the shop opens at 11 a.m., and sometimes makes a one-hour commute by bike from his Victorian Village residence.

The business also is a homecoming of sorts for Morgan, who graduated from Westerville South and Fort Hayes and now works across the street from his father, Bill Morgan, who owns Morgan's Treasures.

The older Morgan, who said the two businesses are similar in regards to retail aspects and also the personal attention it takes to get customers the exact product they're interested in, joked that the family is taking over West Main Street. "Every father wants to work with his son and I'm proud he pursed this venture," Bill Morgan said. "He's going to turn it into a world-class institution."

"I'll be the one working on the bikes. You won't interact with someone that doesn't care." --Mason Morgan

 

 

 

 

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