Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Reminder Bicycle Bill and his Schwinn Store?

Last month when I was blogging about Oberlin Avenue businesses in the old days, I forgot to mention one that was pretty important to kids: the Lorain Schwinn Cyclery run by "Bicycle Bill" Schetter. It was originally in the strip of stores between Whalen Drugs and Willow Hardware.

Here's one of those vintage ads (above) that resembled an article that ran in the Lorain Journal on June 7, 1971 that features Bicycle Bill himself before he starting wearing his trademark black cap. It gives a nice little background about the store. (Give it a click for a larger, more readable view.)

The photo brought back a lot of memories. I spent a lot of time in that store, since several of my boyhood chums really enjoyed working on their bikes – fixing them, painting them, etc. We were in there a lot buying parts or accessories. Mr. Schetter was always nice to us, even though we didn't always buy something; sometimes we were just there to check out the latest bikes.

Of course, my parents bought our Schwinn bikes there; our "bike" Christmas – when we received a new Schwinn 5 or 10 speed – was a big one in our house.

Our bikes were pretty important back then. We rode them all over Lorain and even out to places like Mill Hollow or James Day Park. It's probably why I was thin up until I went away to college!

Anyway, the Lorain Schwinn Cyclery first appeared in the city directory in 1971. In the early 1980s, it moved down the street next to Big Town.

Here's an ad from that era.

1981 Lorain Phone Book Ad

"Bicycle Bill" Schetter passed away in 1986. His sister took over the store and even opened another store in Vermilion.

1990 Lorain Phone Book Ad

Today the Vermilion store remains. You can visit the company website by clicking here. It has a nice history of the store and even mentions that Bill Schetter got his start by purchasing the old Atlas Cycle Shop in Lorain.


fancycat said...

My parents got my bikes at Atlas. I think it was on 5th street next to McGeechie shoes. Who had Buster Brown and Tag shoes

Anonymous said...

Wasnt there a bike store on E 28th street? The 200 block if I remember correctly.

-Alan D Hopewell said...

There was-Fredrick's. I don't remember when it closed.

Anonymous said...

I think Bicycle Bill's first store was on E 28th Street.

-Alan D Hopewell said...

Back in the 60's, there were two bike shops in Lorain-Atlas Cycle (where we got our Sting-Ray in '66), and Fredrick's` I may have spelled it wrong. However, I'm sure it was on 28th Street; I remember walking by there, and looking at the bikes.

FANCYCAT- the shoe store downtown was McKee's-we got our back-to-school shoes there. There was a barber shop next door, with a connecting doorway.