The Scenic City is known for having a large cycling community and with the addition of the Iron Man competition you would think the bicycle business is booming, but the owner of a long-time bike shop in Chattanooga is closing his doors saying sales can't stay up to speed.
River City Bicycles has been serving customers in the Scenic City for nearly 25 years. After spinning his wheels trying to keep the business open, Ronald Driver is closing his doors.
"You know when I got into this business, I didn't get into it because I knew I was going to make a lot of money. I just thought hey I have a lot of customers that value what I bring to the table," said Driver.
About five years ago Ronald Driver lost the lead, in the business he loves.
"The feeling in the store right now, how busy we've been, it reminds me of when I was working in a bike shop in the mid-90s. We always had people in the store," said Driver.
There's been a line of customers today, but the rush is only because River City Bicycles is going out of business.
"Yes this is unseasonably busy," said Driver.
When what is left on the shelves is gone, it won't be restocked.
"It was a tough decision to make," said Driver. "Through my faith, I've been praying about it and so that decision was made for me."
It's not just the bikes Driver will miss, it's training customers on how to use them, making repairs and each sale personal.
"It was fun to sell people fun, but as our competition changed the fun started to leave," said Driver.
Customers now prefer to buy online and Driver says he can't compete.
"I mean our service continued to happen but bike sales did not, parts didn't and people just wouldn't come in and buy items," said Driver.
Driver knows repairs will still be needed, but that's not enough to pay the bills.
"It's going to be a little more difficult for any athlete coming into town, even if it's just for pleasure," said Driver. " It's going to become more difficult, if they need a small thing for their bike or a small part, just to keep them going."
Driver says he'll miss the daily grind, but won't part ways with bicycles altogether. His journey continues on the road, spending more time with his family.
"Like in the bike industry there's so many different types of bikes, so many different options," said Driver. "There's going to be a lot of job opportunities, so I just need to find them. I'd like to thank everyone for the business they've given us over the years."
River City Bicycles will close at the end of this month. Driver's merchandise is being sold right now with a major discount to help pay off remaining fees.
Thursday, September 21 2017 2:57 AM EDT2017-09-21 06:57:22 GMT
Puerto Rico faces what officials say could be the strongest hurricane to ever hit the U.S. territory as they warned it would decimate the power company's crumbling infrastructure and force the government to rebuild...More
Puerto Rico faces what officials say could be the strongest hurricane to ever hit the U.S. territory as they warned it would decimate the power company's crumbling infrastructure and force the government to rebuild dozens of communities.More