By WENDELL HUTSON
The economic challenges that come with running a business has led to the pending closure of a local bike repair shop in Hyde Park.
The founder and owner DJ’s Bike Doctor Inc., 1344 E. 55th St., said after starting the business in 2009 he would be closing for good by the end of the summer.
“Hopefully I can stay open until August but it could be sooner. Once I have a definite [closing] date I will let my customers know and post signs on the store window,” said David Jones, who was born and raised in Hyde Park but now lives in Woodlawn. “I do know that this is my last year in business. I am closing mainly because of financial reasons. I started the year off in too much debt and going four months [during the winter] without an income is getting too hard.”
He said it takes about $100,000 a year to run his shop and even if he won the lottery he still plans to close the shop, relocate to Arizona with his girlfriend and retire.
The vivid bike lover, who graduated from Bret Harte Elementary School, 1556 E. 56th St., and Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., said he moved the business twice before settling at his current location where he has been since 2016. Prior to opening his shop he worked more than 20 years at a former Hyde Park repair shop, and said that is where he got enough experience to open his own business.
Once Jones closes he said there are two more bike shops in Hyde Park although “they seem more like a coffee shop than a bike repair shop,” he said. The two shops are Ancien Cyclist & Café, 1558 E. 53rd St., and Tamago, 5501 S. Everett Ave.
Jones said he rides his bike to work everyday.
“I love to ride and repair bikes. I have been doing this type of work for almost 40 years. I did not go to college but I was always good with my hands,” Jones said. “I got my first bike when I was in high school. My parents could not afford to buy me a bike when I was younger so I would ride other people’s bikes.”
The city’s bike sharing partnership with Divvy also affects the ‘bottom line’ for small shops, Jones said.
“Divvy does not affect the serious riders but for small shops like mines it does have an impact,” Jones said. “People who ride divvy are looking to get from point A to point B and want the cheapest way to get there. If the bike breaks down the customer does not have to fix it like a private bike owner would and that’s where it affects me.”
As he prepares to exit the bike industry Jones said he wants to thank all his customers for their support and he encouraged them to continue riding.
“It’s been fun but it’s time to move on. I’ve done my time and I am ready to do something different,” Jones said. “I now have an opportunity to travel, live in warm weather all year and do other things.”