NORTHBROOK, Ill. (BRAIN) — Retailer George Garner, Sr., who owned and operated several stores in California and the Chicagoland area, passed away Sunday, October 2. He was 93. Garner has a huge influence on the way retailers around the country operated their bike shops in the 20th century.
Garner, a WWII veteran who worked in bike shops in his teens before joining the Marines, opened his first store, Valley Cyclery, in Van Nuys, California, in 1947 with $1,500 he had saved and an additional $1,500 he had borrowed.
As a Schwinn dealer, Garner’s goal was to create the ultimate bicycle store, with a clean, well-lit and organized sales floor and exceptional customer service — a departure from the typical bike retail model at the time.
“George Garner was the specialty bike retailer responsible for getting shops out of the back alleys and establishing them on the main streets of America,” industry veteran Jay Townley told BRAIN in an email. “He was a true change agent who was able to influence the Schwinn Bicycle Company to change the shop paradigm to a whole new level that is just now shifting again. Garner’s influence lasted 50 years.”
Garner designed and built his …read more