Chafin Rhyne, owner of Ride-A-Bike Bicycle Shop for 30 years, will be handing over the reins of his company to a former employee.
An announcement released on Friday said Rhyne will be selling his shop to Brantley Smith on Oct. 1. Smith, who grew up in Lincolnton and worked at the shop during high school, returned to the area in May in hopes of becoming the new owner and operator.
Smith told the Times-News he had heard sometime around last Christmas that the store was up for sale, and he had always entertained the idea of buying it in the back of his mind.
And, with a good amount of experience in the bicycle business, including customer service, sales and mechanical repairs, Smith said he was ready.
He graduated from Western Carolina University and then went into the automotive industry in Memphis, Tenn., but he said he didnâ€™t want to do that in the long term.
Though he has no big changes planned for the store at first, Smith said he would like to rearrange things a bit and dress up the window displays. He would also like to improve both the overall attractiveness and the efficiency of the shop, especially regarding tracking inventory. And he would like to get involved with community events.
Rhyne also previously owned Fausto Coffee, but he sold it about a year ago. Smith said a door remains connecting the two stores, which works out well for both as customers will often grab a coffee while waiting their turns.
In the press release, it was stated that Rhyne â€œ â€¦ retires from the business, confident that Brantley shares the same passion for cycling. Brantley is committed to providing quality service and promoting healthy lifestyles in the community.â€
Ride-A-Bike will maintain the same business hours and location, on the Court Square in downtown Lincolnton.
SARAH LOWERY, Staff Writer