To all Bradenton Bicyclists! There’s a new bike shop in town! You no longer have to try to do it yourself or take your favorite ride out of town for repairs and tuneups. JT Bikes has been open for business at 533 13th St West for eight months. For long time Bradenton residents that’s the address of the venerable City Hall Shoe Repair. From trikes to serious road bikes, and everything in between, JT offers exceptional service in a remarkably friendly customer forward environment.
When Ringling Bicycles closed, Bradenton lost a valuable community asset. JT was working at Ringling and recognized the desperate situation cyclists were left in. He decided to bring his own skill and passion to develop a business model that reflects his own values. “My goal is to offer a good product at a good price. I do a repair right the first time. That way the customer is happy and so am I. I won’t have to repair it a second time.”
Though JT is skilled at working on all kinds of machines that have moving parts-cars, trucks, motorcycles- but his passion is bicycles. He enjoys sharing that passion. Several customers came and went while I was visiting. JT met every customer with a genuine “what can I help you with?” attitude. Requests ranged from assistance with identifying a ball bearing for a Schwinn trike, to repairs on a custom road bike, to advice for a BMX rider. His BMX customer commented, “JT is a great teacher. He’s generous with his expertise and is a great support for the serious biking community.” Though JT works on a wide range of bikes, he wants to become known as the go to for this areas skilled riders.
When he’s not working on bikes, he’s riding them. Though he’s an avid BMX rider, he’s looking at a road bike for himself. Florida lends itself to road bikes with its long stretches of open roads and flat landscape. To encourage more riders, he’s joined with Commute Connector, a program with the Florida Department of Transportation, that assists with identifying safe bike routes and advocates for cycling safety. CommuteConnector.com. And as a community service, JT Offers a free safety check up on any bike.
While JT has focused on offering high quality service, he has expanded into selling bikes and bike accessories. When asked what determines what products he sells, he said “I look for bikes that are affordable and are good quality. I don’t want to sell a bike that is constantly breaking down. That’s not good business for myself or my customers.”
JT Bikes is located in what was the City Hall Shoe Repair and his introduction to Bradenton was through Ringling Bikes. Though these businesses have closed, it is exciting to see a new generation of young entrepreneurs embracing the roles that these businesses played in this community. They are bringing a new energy and services with them that is crucial to our growing city.
Thank you to guest blogger, Maureen Zaremba, for this Good News!