Life is full of difficult decisions, but purchasing the right bicycle shouldn’t be one of them.
Just ask Joe Bontreger, owner of Central Cycle in Holton.
The shop is located on the family’s pure organic dairy farm, complete with 70 dairy cows and work horses, and a dog named Zack.
Bontreger gets up early … it’s his favorite time of the day. He reads his Bible, just prior to the shop opening. On this day, it was Genesis 2:15. He recited the passage and then replied, “You can’t overlook the principle of stewardship and its importance,‘’ said Bontreger.
“We care about our customers and treat them like family,’’ said Bontreger. “We are competent and informed about the features and benefits of our bikes.’’
Certainly that’s comforting information for those looking to invest in the perfect bike.
The shop opened in 2016. Originally, it was mostly utilized by the Amish community, but word quickly spread and the business grew. Bontreger, who has five sons, works the family business with his two youngest sons. It’s not only a hobby and a passion, but it brings him great joy to help people.
“Sometimes we just talk,” Bontreger said of the customers.
The business carries many different brands of bicycles, including Fuji and Jamis. They also carry different styles, like Balance bikes for toddlers, adult trikes and even electric bikes. Prices range from $200 to $4,200. They also carry both competition and recreational bikes.
The service doesn’t stop after you’ve made your purchase and left the shop. The service continues for years to come.
“When you buy a bike, the bikes are fully set up,” added Bontreger. “From simple maintenance to minor adjustments, and major overhauls, we do it here.”
Customers have traveled from Big Rapids and Cedar Springs to purchase bicycles from Central Cycles. And it’s no doubt the personal service keeps them coming back.
During the COVID pandemic, Bontreger said he saw an increase in business.
“People were commuting by bike more at the time. It’s a great motivator and you feel so refreshed. It’s mental clarity to one’s mind when you’re riding. It’s a way to take you away from the technology too,” he said.
One of his customers chose to start commuting to work by bike instead of their usual drive. It was a 5-mile bike ride versus a 2-minute drive. So … why not? Who doesn’t need to unplug or take a few minutes to clear the cobwebs and start your day with a fresh spirit?
Since the COVID outbreak, Bontreger did find it a bit more difficult getting parts for the shop. Due to lack of production and shipping issues with companies being short handed, Bontreger stocked up heavily on many parts,
Because customers are so important, Bontreger goes above and beyond to taking care of their bicycle needs.
“Small business is all about caring for customers’ well being,” said Bontreger about why he puts so much into Central Cycle’s customers.
Keeping your bicycle running smoothly is important for both longevity and safety. And maintenance depends on the type of bicycle and its usage, according to Bontreger.
A recreational bike should be serviced once a year. If you ride competitively or frequently, you should have it checked periodically throughout the year.
Repairs and service could take 2-3 weeks, depending on parts availability, if not in stock. But a simple flat tire or other minor repairs could be done while you wait.
Bikes not purchased at Central Cycle shop can also be serviced.
The business accepts cash and check only. And most of their advertising comes from word of mouth of satisfied customers and social media.
It’s easy to see why Central Cycles is such a successful business.
A characteristic of stewardship is … Commitment to selfless service. That is exactly what Joe Bontreger brings to Central Cycles.
Afterall, according to Bontreger, “it’s all about family and treating people right.”
Just the way God intended.