Bike shop owner touts experience, products

ALLIANCE – Henry Simmons says he doesn’t carry everything in his B&B Bike Shop. But he’s got to be close.

The shop is located at 2030 Cherry Ave. and has served the area for 24 years with 20 of those from the Cherry Avenue shop.

Simmons stocks sprockets, wheel, tires, lights, reflectors,, helmets, saddles, hand grips peddles, skateboards and even pepper spray.

“I’ve got a lot but not everything,” he said. “I have a lot of little stuff.”

A customer brings in a tire inner tube and tells Simmons he doesn’t know the size or anything about it. Sizing it up, Simmons, a 1960 Alliance High School graduate, disappears into the back room for a moment and reappears with the exact match and says, “That’s $5 with tax.”

Another customer brings in a small coaster brake axle and consults with Simmons and is soon on his way. It doesn’t take long. He knows his business.

The big seller is a bike manufactured under the Torker name and Simmons also sells Red Line and Sun bikes.

“I deal with DK, Eastern and Verda,” he said.

Sales are pretty much even – half boys and half girls bikes. Simmons said women today are buying small men’s bikes. The bikes have 26-inch wheels, but Simmons said 29-inch models are the “coming thing because they roll better.”

Simmons added, “I sell mostly to adults and seniors. The price of the BMX bikes have driven the kids out. Styles come and go.”

Prices start at $150 and can get up to $1,200, he said and noted he sells quite a few unicycles and recumbent bikes which manufacturers say takes the strain out of cycling by allowing riders to stretch out.

“Some people really like the them and can get some speed with them, you have more power from the seat to the pedals,” Simmons explained, pointing to an $1,100 Sun EZ Tri-Classic model. “Because you’re sitting back you can put more power into the pedals.”

Simmons said you can get up to 20 to 25 miles per hour pretty easily so “you have to be careful where you do it.”

The market is also supported by a unicycle club based in Alliance that has about 25 members.

Simmons got into the business with his stepson who needed a partner when the shop was located a few blocks away on Arch Street.

They moved to Cherry Avenue 20 years ago. Today, aside from the mass merchandisers, his competition is in Canton and Youngstown.

“I bought the guy out in Salem during an auction 22 years ago,” he said. “I bought the guy out who ran with Schwinn too. Both were in Salem. We have a lot of unusual stuff. Like adult training wheels for handicapped riders. It’s made to withstand a lot of weight.

“We’ve done some strange stuff too. A guy wanted a bike that would ride the rails (abandoned). A hunter who wanted to get back in nowhere land and we built it and got it to work. That was about 22 years ago. That was the most memorable bike.”

It hasn’t been all bikes all the time, Simmons said, noting he put in 23 years at the old Hoover vacuum cleaner plant in Canton.

Store hours are Monday through Friday from noon until 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

For more information, call 330-823-9284.