30th Century Bicycle owner Steve Goetzelman announced on his Facebook profile today that he plans to close his popular downtown Iowa City bike shop on Valentine’s Day. The business has offered new and used bikes, accessories and repairs since it opened on Earth Day 2009.
“Those are the fun things you get to do when you’re the owner; you get to choose your own destiny,” Goetzelman said.
He said as time went on things like having time off on the holidays became more compelling: “You know, when people are off work on Memorial Day, and they still get paid for that?! That’s amazing. I want to experience that.”
He said liquidation of all inventory and tools starts immediately at his shop at 312 E Prentiss St in Iowa City.
For his next steps, Goetzelman who was a Category 2 cyclist in the USA Bicycling circuit, said he thinks he’ll be staying in the bike business, maybe working with a bike brand, but couldn’t share details at this time.
The shop has had several employees over the years that Goetzelman credited with having helped it last so long.
“It’s hard to find people that know how to work on bikes in a shop environment, with deadlines and things needing to be done in a particular way,” he said. “So, as those folks move on, it does get harder.”
His original business partner — Cody Gieselman, now executive director of the Iowa City Bike Library — left the business in 2012.
Reflecting on his nine years as a business owner, he said, “It’s been a great experience, and I’m just glad that I got to make the decision to close.”
Some owners may have bittersweet feelings, or doubts about whether their work was really as appreciated as it should have been, but Goetzelman says he doesn’t feel any of that.
“It’s just been a beautiful run,” he said. “Definitely the best professional thing I’ve ever done. I don’t feel any sadness, really. … In our first year, after we had made it six months and business started slacking into the fall and winter, I remember thinking even just to do it that long and have that experience was worth it. To be able to do it eight years is really cool.”
Goetzelman said he was at the end of his lease, but he does not know what future plans may be in place for the location in a building shared by Trumpet Blossom Cafe. Building landlord, Randy Miller of Mid-West America Commercial Realty, said no new tenants are currently lined up, but he hopes to find a tenant soon.
While closing is tough and it’s hard not to feel sentimental, Goetzelman said this “just feels like moving forward.”