I'll tell ya, sometimes temptation has a way of seeking YOU out!
Here's the rub. It's no secret hard times are hitting...well...hard around here. Tightening the belt doesn't cover it! I'm not to proud to say, a very sweet benefactor bestowed an abundance of food on us last night, as Angi was counting change to get the daily rations. So thankfully, everyone had dinner last night. A good thing, as the shop was all but dead, again, yesterday. We also have Chris to thank for the donation of a HUGE bevy of new bike parts and accessories. Sadly, chris's own bike shop, north of here did not survive the summer slow down. They had opened less than two years ago, and being from New England as well brought the expectations of summers being the best time for riders. Alas, that is farthest from the truth. Heavily invested, they didn't make it through. He stated howrver, he was giving it all to us because he hopes we make it. Oh, you and us both brother! Him and his family are headed back north, yesterday, to recoop and find a new direction. We wish them all the best.
So, during this excruciating struggle, when things always seem so hopeless, the oddest thing happens ; two days ago, Angi was paid a visit bt a suit, brandishing a business card proclaiming he represented a group of investors buying up small, established Florida businesses. Not too sure of all the particulars, but it's a Latin based group, that apparently buys them, brings in their own people to establish an American foot hold. My first reaction, was "hell no!" But....then as i l looked around at how much Angi and the kids are sacrificing just to keep the doors open? Well, you'll forgive me for "considering"it. Considering, to the point of consoling myself to the fact, it may be our only option. To that end, i sat Angi down this morning over coffee, and stated maybe we should persue the offer.
Her response was emphatic, "NO!"
She was quite passionate about her reasoning, and i paraphrase (deleteing expletives) "how do you put a price on memories? This is our blood, our toil, all our sacrifices, how can you value that? And what about all our regulars, the snowbirds and vacationers who have come to rely on us as a reasonable alternative to being humiliated and robbed by all the "boutique bike shops"? Where will THEY go?" Would the new people that come in, run it the same way, or turn it into another stale, impersonal "upscale shop"? Oh...she had me on those last two points! As i said, not to proud to say, for a brief moment i saw dollar signs and an end to the struggle, but she reminded me, in no uncertain terms, that some labors are not just necessary but righteous. I know it may seem silly to some, that what amounts to just another business, is for us, truly an extension of our family. Oh, of course at this point, i started "waxing nostalgic" about the whole thing and came to realize, amongst other things, all our kids pretty much grew up here. I can't remember how many times throughout their lives they have been recognized as "the bike family" or "recycle kids" (we should have t-shirts made!). Come to think of it, this business truly HAS been our home! Starting in our garage, after a few months, Angi would keep a can of fabreeze by the garage door to rid the house of "bike smell" as the kids (and cats) would run in and out all day long. And after we moved out of the garage to our first shop, then had the fire that killed our electric, (which led to the discovery that our landlord had NOT been paying the mortgage for a year, was in forecloser, and therefore not going to fix it, the new shop became our home for a week until we found new digs. Oh, the list goes on and on.
So, in the end, it was realized, we HAVE to keep plugging! God willing, he'll send some folks our way that we may service, pay some bills, and stay open. So, we thank all of you who have gotten us through the last decade, and pray to God a new and ever growing influx of friends will see us through the next decade!