By J.O. Parker
Craig Cooper, owner of Bikes to You in Grinnell, celebrated a milestone earlier this month.
Cooper opened Bikes to You 30-years ago on April 4, 1992.
“I opened the doors with 22 bicycles and some accessories,” recalled Cooper. “Today, we have close to 200 bicycles and every kind of accessory to match.”
Cooper credits the tenacious energy and encouragement of Bill Sepic, the former director of the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce, in spurring him on to open the bike shop.
“He (Sepic) called me multiple times to get me to open a bike shop in Grinnell,” Cooper said.
It all came together thanks to a business loan from Dave Jones at Grinnell State Bank.
Cooper, who grew up in Newton, got his start in the bicycle business thanks to Marty Doane, the owner of Marty’s Schwinn Cyclery.
When Cooper moved to Pella in 1986 to attend Central College, he and Doane opened Iowa Bike & Fitness in Pella, a store he ran during his four-years in college.
After graduating from Central in 1990, Cooper piddled around for a couple years before deciding to settle down and open Bikes to You in Grinnell.
The store, which is located at 921 Broad St., has been in the same building since day one.
At a 30-year celebration ribbon cutting by the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors earlier this month, Cooper shared the story of having just one week to “flip” the store from its previous role as a shoe store to opening a bike store seven days later.
Cooper said he is truly humbled by the friendships and relationships built over the years with his customers and says the future is looking bright.
“The folks of Montezuma, Brooklyn, Victor, Grinnell and all across the county have supported the bicycle shop,” he said. “I’m very thankful and appreciate their business.”
In addition to selling and repairing bicycles, Cooper offers a RAGBRAI charter service for bicyclists from across the globe. In past years, he has operated a bike repair shop on the annual cross-state ride, but is not offering that service this year.
Cooper sells several brands of bicycles, but said his top sellers are Giant and Cannondale bikes. He also offers a line of electric assist bikes along with a large selection of bicycle accessories from tires to tubes and much more.
“We will fix any brand of bicycle,” he said.
Bikes to You is open Tuesday – Friday, from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The business is closed on Sunday and Monday.
The business can be reached at 641-236-8600.