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Bike shop business continues for 6 years

BY GRACE PATERAS | MAY 14, 2015 5:00 AM

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Each week, The Daily Iowan will provide an in-depth look at a local business.

All three full-time staffers at 30th Century Bicycle, 312 E. Prentiss St., ride their bikes to work each day.

The independent shop sells new and used bikes, as well as accessories. Staffers also offer repairs to customers, the most popular being brake issues, shifting adjustments, and flat tires.

Owner Steve Goetzelman bought the shop six years ago. He said the bike demand in Iowa City is high, and he doesn’t expect it to drop.

“Bikes are here now, and they’re never going away,” he said. “People talk about if they can design a better car or the energy source of the future, but I just think bikes are always going to be there.”

On a typical day, the shop will sell one bike.

The most popular are used bikes, and sell between $200 and $500, which is a good price, Goetzelman said.

Approximately 40 to 50 bikes are on display typically, and fewer than 10 of those are used bikes because of the high demand.

One of the shop’s employees, Mary Coats, is one of the rare female mechanics in the bicycle industry.

She joined the 30th Century Bicycle team two years ago after disliking her previous experiences at bigger corporate shops.

“[Steve] doesn’t pressure us to upsell,” she said. “I like that I can focus on what’s the best fit for someone, and there’s no pressure to sell more stuff just to sell more stuff.”

Customers, Goetzelman said, are a mix between students and locals. The fall season is the busiest time of the year because of the dry weather — and students back in town for school.

However, Goetzelman said, other seasons are popular for customers as well.

“I think a lot more people are riding in the winter now than six years ago, which is great,” he said. “It’s always weather-dependent. This past winter was our busiest winter.”

Next door to the shop is Trumpet Blossom Café, 310 E. Prentiss St.

Owner Katy Meyer has known Goetzelman for many years, she said, and is happy to have him as a neighboring business.

“It’s fun to go over there and talk shop with him and talk to him about the ups and downs of running a small business,” Meyer said. “[Steve] is really dedicated to his job, and he’s there every day working hard.”

In addition, Meyer said Goetzelman is a customer at the café and comes in to replace light bulbs and perform other maintenance.

All employees at 30th Century Bicycle have different pasts with touring, racing, and biking in general. Their experiences make them good advisers, they said, to their customers.

“If you need advice on bikes, we’ve all been doing it for a long time. To get advice, it’s what we do,” Goetzelman said. “It’s how we get around. So we’re pretty good to talk to about it.”


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