Wenatchee Cycle Is Closing Its Doors

Archie Lodge outside Wenatchee Cycle and Sporting Goods on
Wenatchee Avenue,about 1940. Photo courtesy of Andrea Lodge

The freckle-faced boy knew exactly what he wanted the Schwinn with
the hard-rubber tires. The bike cost $47.33, a lot of money for a kid in
April 1949. But 8-year-old Jesse Montoya had something going for him
that most kids his age didn't have a regular paycheck as a paperboy. So
with $10 down and a promise to make weekly $2 payments, Montoya
walked out of Wenatchee Cycle with his bike, like thousands of others
over about 60 years.

But sometime late next month, the shop will close,
a victim of competition from big-box stores, the
Internet and mail order, said owner Andrea Lodge.

Lodge has owned the store since 1978 and it has been in
the Lodge family for 57 years. "Basically, I'm not making a
living at it anymore," she said of the store at 228 Wenatchee
Ave."I feel bad that I'm the one ending the business," she said.

"It's very sad, but you have to face the music."

Selling bikes in 1933 Over the decades, the bike shop touched many.
LeRoy Wilburn started the business as Wenatchee Cyclery in 1933,
moving it to its present location in 1936. When he died later the same
year, his widow sold the business to his brother, Corwin Wilburn.

Archie Lodge, a New York native who had recently moved
in to Wenatchee, went to work at the bike shop in 1938.
He would end up owning the shop, but at the time earned
$5 a week sweeping the floor. Corwin Wilburn left Wenatchee
a year later and turned the business over to his father-in-law Bert
Ludington. Ludington died in early 1943 and his widow sold the
business to Lodge that year. It's been in the Lodge family ever since.

Archie Lodge extended credit to people and kept track
of accounts on index cards. People would make a down
payment and then pay the balance over time said his son,
Bob Lodge, who began working at the shop in 1952 when
he was 12 years old. He earned 25 cents an hour.

Montoya, the paperboy who paid off his first bike in 1950,
has a residential property appraisal business in east Wenatchee.

He ended up buying four or five bikes from Wenatchee Cycle as
a youngster. He remembers Montgomery Ward and J.C. Penney
Co. also sold bikes in the late 1940s and early 1950s. But, "You
couldn't go in and touch the bikes at Penney's because it was all
catalog order backthen," he said. "Plus the service was so good
(at Wenatchee Cycle). Bob (Scanlon) and Archie (Lodge) were
such nice people to work with. They would fix flats for free. "Some
times, however, Archie Lodge the bike salesman became Archie
Lodge the bike repo man. Not a fun job, but a necessary one.

"I remember we were on a vacation in California and dad swung by
someone's house and picked up a bike," his son, Bob Lodge, said.

Another time Archie Lodge went to Bend, Ore., on business.
He just happened to have a delinquent customer who lived there.
Lodge found the bike sitting in the person's front yard and took it
to a friend's house in Bend. He called the customer and told them
that he had taken the bike. He said when they paid the balance on
their account he would tell them where they could find their bike.

Archie Lodge sounded like a tough guy, but he had another
side, said Lew Olson, a 10-year employee.Olson was 14 years
old when he started hanging around the back step of the bike
shop."One day Archie said, 'Hey, you're in the way. Either
leave or start working.' So I started working," Olson said.

Olson said Archie Lodge was a taskmaster who expected
an honest day's work. That meant showing up on time and
working hard until 6 p.m. But that same taskmaster would
let his workers take an advance from the cash register three
or four days before payday."Archie came across as gruff and
serious in the shop, but he had a warm spot as well," he said.

Olson went on to become a local grade school teacher for 30 years. He
also ran a bike dealership and repair shop out of his home on the side.

"The Lodges encouraged me to do that," he said. "I was
in competition with them and yet we were good friends.

They're a very caring family." Family connection Andrea Lodge, the
current owner, was working for a record company in Los Angeles
when she got a call in 1972 that her father was ill. She returned home.
Archie Lodge died that year, at the height of the 10-speed bike craze,
when Wenatchee Cycle was selling more bikes than it ever had.

Mary Lodge, Archie's widow and Andrea's mother, said the
craze hit Wenatchee in early 1971 while she and her husband
were on vacation."Everything was crazy," Mary Lodge said.

"We had a list of people waiting for bikes.
We'd order 200 bikes and they'd be sold before we got
them into the shop. Every time a delivery came from
Chicago, people would be lined up outside our shop."

Mary Lodge took over the shop after her husband passed
away. Andrea Lodge managed the bike shop for her mother
before buying the business in 1978. Bob Lodge works at
the shop as a bookkeeper and assistant.

The locksmith part of the business, then in a small corner in
the shop, was broken off from the business and taken over
by her son and daughter-in-law, Ron and Jeanie Lodge, in
1977. Today its known as Keyhole Security & Alarm Center.

Bikes still rolling Bill Dobbins was 14 when he bought an
orange-yellow Schwinn Varsity bicycle at Wenatchee Cycle.

It was July 1968, the summer between his eighth and ninth
grade years at Sterling Junior High."It was the first bike I
bought on my own," said Dobbins, now the Douglas County
PUD's chief executive officer and manager.

"I earned the money by picking cherries. "Dobbins paid $89.82
for the bike. He made a $45 down payment on July 5 and paid
the balance on Aug. 30. His name was painted on the bike, courtesy
of Bob Scanlon. "I rode to Orondo on it one time and to Lake Chelan
another time," he said. There was a group of us who rode to Lake
Chelan when I was in high school. I remember we had quite a debate
as to whether we were going to ride back. "Dobbins said he gave the
bike to his older sister when he was done with it.

He bought his next bike in 1973 from Arlberg Sports.
But he wasn't through buying bicycles at Wenatchee Cycle & Fitness.
"My three kids are all on Schwinns that were bought there,"he said.

CC - Marco Martinez of the Wenatchee World.

Wenatchee Cycle & Fitness ( -AKA- ) Wenatchee Cycle & Toy
228 South Wenatchee Ave. Wenatchee, Wa. Closed Its Doors In May, 2000
Wenatchee Cycle, was a big supporter for the Wenatchee Valley BMX Track
and also a lot of other fun bicycling events in the Wenatchee area. The bike
shop was an icon in Wenatchee and is missed by a lot of people today...

Some Random Photos At The Bike Shop

If you have any photos from the bike shop and would like to post,
share them - Please send to Gene`s BMX and I will post them up.

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