B&B Bike continues to serve a broad area
ALLIANCE — There aren’t many bicycle shops around. But the B&B Bike Shop in Alliance draws customers from all over the area including Salem, Canton, Hartville, Louisville, Minerva, Hanoverton — along with faculty and students from the University of Mount Union.
Henry Simmons has operated the shop at 2030 Cherry Ave. for 30 years and just keeps on rolling. There are more than 50 new and used bikes in his shop, which uses tight floor and shelf space to pack bikes parts all over the place.
There are seats, tires, inner tubes, handlebar grips, frames, chains, skateboards, helmets, reflectors, pedals, locks, sprockets, mirrors and even some pepper spray.
While Simmons says he doesn’t carry everything in his B&B Bike Shop, he’s got to be close.
“I’ve got a lot but not everything,” he said. “I have a lot of little stuff. Say a part for a high-end bike, I might not have,” he said.
If he doesn’t have it, he can order it and have it within a few days by FedEx.
“It used to be a week, now it’s a couple of days. I can get it pretty quick, knock on wood,” Simmons said.
He sells custom seats because standard bike seats “are hard.” Sold are Cloud 9 seats with the “C9” logo on them.
The season is picking up and Simmons added the Raleigh cruiser line of girls’ and boys’ bikes in the spring.
“They’re expensive and people don’t particularly like that,” Simmons said. “It’s not what you like but what you can get.”
He sells Kink, Shogun, Cult, DK Sun and custom Huffy and Next bikes along with unicycles and adult trikes (3-wheelers).
While the B&B Bike Shop selling season is hitting full stride, Simmons, a 1960 graduate of Alliance High School, said, “The work situation is bad around here. Every time I turn around down here, someone is closing.”
Simmons spends a lot of time in his repair shop. “Ninety percent of the time we can fix it,” he said. “Occasionally we run across something we can’t. I can get something straight from the factory. Welding we can send out but we really don’t get a lot of these because on a lot of bikes the metal is thin and they burn right through.”
One customer, Kevin Phillips, noted in a social media post, “Got my road bike put back together thanks to the honest gentleman.”
Repairs can take two days or less. For some it’s a same day turnaround time. The most common fix is for tires and inner tubes. But there is always someone who worked on a bike.
“They bring in a brand new one from someone not working on them right from the big box store,” Simmons explained. The “big box store” is a reference to mass merchandisers. One inescapable fact is most bikes are made in China.
Simmons, who works with one helper, moved to Cherry Avenue 24 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 26 years ago,” he said, along with a guy who had the Schwinn franchise, also in Salem.
Customers wanting special order bikes can order them online and have them shipped to B&B Bike Shop where Simmons can assemble them.
Simmons said there is unusual stuff, too, like adult training wheels for handicapped riders. They’re made to withstand a lot of weight.
Simmons said that while the market is shrinking due to eBay and online outlets, “I’ll keep going.”
Married for 25 years to his wife, Barbara, the couple has one stepson, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
B&B Bike Shop accepts Visa and Mastercard. For more information, call 330-823-9284 or visit B&B Bike Shop on Facebook or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.