The Reasons Why - Lil' Jeff and The Bike Shop
Keeping it Local in Clifton New Jersey
2 Feb 2016
Words by Jeff Kocsis Photos by Chris Marshall
It's been a hell of a ride to get to where we are now... I only think that when I sit here and try to put in words how this all even happened. None of us had much ownership experience and we never realized how much it would fully cost (time and money) to make this bike shop work. We found a small place for $700 a month and it needed a window replaced. We fixed the window and got our first month free! Then Ralph Sinisi filled the shop to a healthy amount and I got some United and Fit complete bikes in. The place was the size of my bedroom. We had to work on bikes right in front of the customers 2 feet from the floor bikes. Looking back i don't know how it even worked. 3 years later it's evolved into a different bigger shop in the same part of Clifton NJ and we still hold it down as the city's only bike shop.
I don't know what made me want to add a shop onto my already busy schedule to be honest... But when you love something and have your mind made up, anything is possible. I saw some things lining up before the shop got started that narrowed my ideas in a good way. My brother had just finished working at a shop that closed down. My mother just finished raising four kids and finally after 30 years had free time again and was eager to work. And my dad promised to sink whatever money he had into the bike shop. It all kind of fell into place.
In the future I would love to see the shop flow towards BMX more... I'm trying to grow that way but it's tough. There's lots of competition.
We have a shop team... Luke (@lukepedals) Rob Dolecki (@doleckivisuals) Mark Franz (@mark_franz) Anthony Villani (@sirvillani) Plus many more. So many friends and family - it's not about the "team" but about just riding together.
Were are starting to film a 15 minute online team video... that will be out by next winter.
My mom and my brother handle the shop... Moms on inventory and ordering. Dealing with customers and phone calls. Kyle is the master mechanic. Nothing he can't fix or do.
At first we argued a lot.. Everyone had different ideas and stuff. But now it's all good and the direction we are going is the road we are all on. There's no hidden beef or bad feelings. We dish it out to each other if needed. Tough love for sure.
So many of my friends help out just by supporting us... Liking our photos. But really the ones who stuck out the most for us have been Ralph Sinisi, Rob Dolecki, Chris Marshall, Ian Morris at United, everyone at Building Distro. And most importantly, Arty from Allwood bikes. None of this would be possible without his presence and assistance.
Greecing up some lesser known spots
"It was also very empowering just realizing I'm my own captain and I can go where ever I want"