Brone's Bike Shop opened for business in the spring of 1996.  The business plan started in the spring of 1995. It was a whirlwind time period in my life and a lot of drastic changes took place in a short time.  However, looking back on it now it was one of the most exciting things I'd done and I have no regrets.

Photograph of our first location downtown Fountain City.  Circa spring 1998.
The story...

The real start point to all of this has to be some moments in my childhood.  Growing up the bicycle selection wasn't too great and department store bikes were about all our family could afford.  Used department store bikes were available in our neighborhood and so I began tinkering with them.  I'd take 2 or 3 bikes that didn't work and make a nicer working one out of them.  We'd get cinder blocks and boards and make jumps outside our house.  We'd also ride them to the park and basically extend our area of play around the neighborhood.  (Lived in South Minneapolis during this time).  I was basically fond of and decent at fixing bikes.

As I got older (teenage years) there wasn't a great likelihood we'd be getting a car of our own once we were old enough to drive.  That was still for the wealthy.  To have a microwave or a VCR at this point meant your family was doing well!  By this time in my life my parents moved us back to Fountain City and they'd decided to purchase the local hardware store.  As luck would have it interest rates were at an all time high and the timing couldn't have been worse.  It was the beginning of the BIG superstore era.  Home Depot, Lowes, etc.  No one was going to the local shops anymore...not enough people to keep it afloat anyway.

About this time our family figured we needed to add something diverse to the sinking hardware store so we decided to bring in bikes.  Repair and sales.  We got Fuji and their off shoot brand called Sanwa.  We wanted to sell Gitan as Greg Lemond was really taking off as a racer in Europe and the team he was on at the time rode them.  We also wanted Bianchi but both brands were too expensive to take a gamble on carrying and besides, Fuji had plenty of quality bikes to sell and choose from.  Sanwa was very affordable as well.  No mountain bikes on the scene just yet either.

More to come....

Selling BMX/Freestyle bikes out of the downtown location.

A corner of the old shop with stuff crammed in everywhere...the good old days!

Road bikes and hybrids on display in the old downtown location.

Weighing a custom Fisher with our fish scale.  This one went to Utah!

The short lived days of Aluminum bridging the gap from steel to carbon.

Our BBS DQ team of the late 90's.  Fond memories!

A. Seltz, M. Brone, P. Ellis, G. Brone.  Firehouse 50 4 man TTT.  Circa 1998.