By Emily Sorensen
After over 20 years of serving the community, Bike Empire closed it doors Saturday, March 9 for the last time.
Tim Gill has been selling and servicing bikes in Poway since he and a partner bought the bicycle shop, located at 13355 Midland Road, from its previous owner in 1993. Now, he’s hitting the brakes and moving on, citing the economy as his reason for closing.
“I’ve been losing money the last four years,” said Gill. “The economy hit us heavy. It’s like someone unplugged the business.” Gill said business had dropped nearly 40 percent since the end of 2008. Despite moving his shop to save on rent, and cutting expenses, Gill said he just couldn’t afford to stay open anymore. “I’ve cut my expenses everywhere possible,” said Gill. “The good months out of the year aren’t as good as they once were, and there’s less of them.”
Gill said he had been considering closing for the past two and a half years. “I thought, I need to try and pull it through for the community,” said Gill.
“It’s been a struggle for the last two years,” said Gill. “I’ve aged 20 years in six years. It’s been very stressful.”
Bike Empire held the unique position of being the only bike shop in the community that also did service and repairs. Now, Gill says people looking to get their bikes fixed will have to travel further, to bicycle stores in Escondido or Black Mountain. “The sad thing for me is that the community won’t have a bike shop anymore,” said Gill. “There is a huge need for bicycle service and sales.”
Gill, who still has two years on his lease, said he was looking to find another bike shop to move into his location, so the community would still have access to bike repair and sales. Gill himself is going to work as a manager at Trek Bicycle Superstore in Kearny Mesa. “I’m grateful I have something lined up,” said Gill.