After 36 years of doing business in Rochester, a well-known Med City retailer says it’s time to stop pedaling.
"Honest" Paul Myhrom, who will soon turn 65, announced this week that he plans to retire and to close An Honest Bike Shop at 44 Fourth St SE on Sept. 19. He was going to close next year, but the pandemic changed his plans.
“This is the perfect year to do it,” he said.
While other bike businesses have struggled with inventory because of an unprecedented surge in sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Myhrom’s unconventional approach to retail has put him in a good position.
He has always challenged the traditional “just in time” strategy of keeping a small inventory that is turned over several times in a year. Myhrom has always brought in all of his bikes and parts at the start of spring with the goal of only turning his inventory over once.
“That saved my butt this year," he said. "Because of the shortages in the industry, my competitors have been out of inventory for months. My business is up about 25 percent.
"Now we’re finally running out of bikes … I’m comfortable dissolving the business and going out on my terms.”
Myhrom said he’ll be able to sell anything not purchased by customers to other dealers for a much higher price than he would have in a typical year.
While he has always been an outspoken and proud capitalist during his years as a business owner and during his time as a city council member, Myhrom’s favorite part of running a bike shop had nothing to do with making money.
“My favorite customer is an 8-year-old or 9-year-old getting their first bicycle from a real bike shop. They are excited and happy to be there. Bikes are a happy product,” he said.
Myhrom owns the historic brick building where his shop is located. He intends to lease the street-level space to an attorney and continue to rent out the three upstairs apartments.
When he opened in 1984, there were four bike shops in Rochester. And there are still four bike shops today.
“It’s a tough business to get into and to prosper at,” he said. “The customers are all pleasant to work with, though. Everyone is happy to get a new bike or get their bike back after being fixed.”
Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in "Heard on the Street." Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter to @whereskiger. You can call him at 507-285-7798.