As originally published in Daily Herald
Photo credit: Bev Horne | Staff Photographer, Daily Herald
Not many people can say that they own the business where they worked when they were 16 years old.
This is the case for Doug Jones, who owns Midwest Cyclery in downtown Wheaton. The business on Front Street is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.
Jones says he did the college-work thing a little out of order. He worked at the cycle shop until he went away to college at Illinois State University. After the first semester, he returned home when he learned that the shop’s founder, Al Wenzel, was selling the business.
Jones and his mom, Helen, took over ownership and Doug earned a business degree at nearby North Central College. Doug’s father, Tom, was working for United Airlines at the time and several years later assisted at the shop part time.
The family said it is gratified the business has been around for six decades. “We are proud to be a part of historic downtown Wheaton and prouder still of the store’s long tradition of service, reliability and value,” said Doug, 59.
He said the biggest change he has seen over the years is an increase in competition. “So we have honed in on the things we’re good at,” he said. The service department is busy offering tuneups, fixing flats and making various repairs, he said.
“It’s important to us that we get people the right information and we offer an array of accessories,” he said. Helmets, gloves, clothing, seat bags, shoes, pumps, mirrors and bells are some of the popular items.
Cannondale and Fuji are the two big bike brands they sell, he said. In addition, the shop has started selling E-bikes this past year, he said. “There is a lot of interest in them,” Doug said. They are electric assisted bikes that are easier to ride than regular bikes and require less strength and endurance. The bikes, which require more regular maintenance, range from $1,400 to $2,800.
Doug said his family took over the business 38 years ago. When the shop first opened, it was called Western Tire and was on Hale Street in Wheaton. They then moved to West Front Street in 1965 and later changed the name to Midwest Auto & Bicycle Store.
When the Jones’ took over, they changed the name to its current name and moved to its current location about 18 years ago. Doug, who enjoys cycling for exercise, said Wheaton encourages bike riding.