Jack Sheaffer opened his doors in 1986 on Walnut Street becoming a second generation business owner in downtown Milford. Jack’s father owned the Economy Auto Supply across the street, on the spot where the current Riverfront Theatre now stands, starting in 1937. Seeing his father’s success as a cornerstone of downtown Milford,Jack decided it was time to take on his own venture.
With a background as a business major at Gettysburg College and his years of experience at the auto supply shop Jack opened the doors of Bikes Etc. across the street from his father’s shop. After 25 years in business Jack has seen it all from economic difficulties, boom economies and back to the current state of our economic environment. In Jack’s eyes, however, there was always one thing that remained the same, his passion.
“I am not here to make a lot of money,” commented Mr. Sheaffer. “I am here because I enjoy what I am doing. How many CEOs do you know that sell, put together, test drive their products and make sure the customer is satisfied.”
When Jack first started Bikes Etc. in 1986 he admits he was more interested in playing tennis than riding bikes but he enjoyed working with his hands and cannot remember a time when he didn’t own a bicycle. It was with some encouragement from close friends to participate in a biathlon that sparked Jack’s nostalgic enthusiasm for cycling.
“I always had a bike since I was 13 years old,” Jack stated pointing to a picture of himself standing next to his first bike. “It was a Schwinn with a leather seat.”
This newly revived love of cycling helped Jack to win several medals at the Senior Olympics beginning in 1996 and in his eyes helped him become a better salesperson by “understanding the needs of a cyclist.”
Beginning as a retailer of Diamondback and Fuji Bikes, Jack now offers a large variety of family-oriented bicycles for juveniles, adults and special needs. Over the past couple decades the style of bikes and the business behind them has changed dramatically. The demand for different styles has changed from the original cruiser bikes to mountain bikes and now on to hybrid bikes. Jack has also seen the retail business change from a focus on small dealers that are able to fix the bike at the shop to the big box stores who sell as many bikes as fast as possible.
“It is hard to compete with the hundreds of big stores around the country,” stated Mr. Sheaffer. “but my specialty is service. My average turnaround for bikes in my shop is the same day.”
Once known by many around town as the ‘Wheel Doctor’, Jack’s most memorable part about his business over the years is seeing the customer satisfied after the sale and telling others about the quality service he provided.
Bikes Etc. specializes in selling and repairing all makes and models of bicycles, parts and accessories.It is located on 3 North Walnut Street next to the Mispillion Riverwalk downtown and open Monday through Friday from 10am-4pm. For more information call Bikes Etc. at 302-422-8030 or visit http://milfordbikesetc.com/.
“We take care of anything bike related including accessories and repairs,” stated Jack. “The most important thing to make sure of is that the bike fits you and that you do not have to fit the bike.”