The Omaha Bicycle Co. will close for business at the end of August, the owner announced on the company’s Facebook page.
“There’s no good way to start this post so I’ll just get right to it: the Omaha Bicycle Company will close for business at the end of this month,” the post from Sarah Johnson reads. “I really can’t say thank you enough to the amazing community that has held us up for the past nearly 7 years. It has been quite the ride and we’ve met sooooo many amazing people along the way.”
The bike shop, at 6015 Maple St., also sells coffee and tea. It has sponsored group bike rides for years.
In an interview, Johnson, 38, said the business is in good shape financially. But she said she has been dealing with health problems and has had trouble attracting bike-repair people to Omaha.
It’s difficult, she said, “finding and keeping — attracting — employees to a city that really isn’t doing much for bikes.”
The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce has just launched ConnectGO to come up with a unified transportation strategy for the Omaha metro area.
The initiative is partly based on the need to attract a younger workforce that tends to prefer getting around by bus, bikes or other alternatives to cars.
Johnson said she’s tired of surveys and studies and wants the city to take action.
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Johnson noted that she opened on Halloween 2012 and has enjoyed promoting bike-related events and advocating for cycling. “I’m sad, but I’m proud,” she said. “People have always been my favorite part.”
Her Facebook page says the neighborhood shop aimed to make the community better “by encouraging two-wheeled transportation and conversation. ... From croissants to electric bicycles, we’ve got you covered.”
Commenters thanked Johnson for her impact on Benson and bicycling: “More than anything, we will miss the community you built.”
Johnson said she started in the bike industry when she was 20 and ran a bike and coffee shop in Colorado before moving back to Omaha.
“It has definitely been the toughest decision I’ve had to make,” she said of closing the business. “You just kind of got to recognize when it’s time to say, ‘See you later.’ ”
Johnson noted in the Facebook post that if people wanted to help, they could “COME BUY SOME STUFF FOR CHEAP! Tip the baristas extra big! Spread the word about the sale!
“Regular hours this week, shortened next week.”