BANDON, OR (BRAIN) Tuesday June 5 2012 6:07 PM MT— After spending 17 years as a certified public accountant, former pro road racer Karl Maxon is now keeping the books for his new Oregon shop, South Coast Bicycles.
Maxon raced all over the U.S. as well as internationally from 1980 into the early ’90s, chalking up more than 100 wins and nearly 200 podium finishes. He’s a former national champion in the team and individual time trial.
Since opening for business this spring, Maxon has been overwhelmed by the warm industry reception, including from former team members he hadn’t spoken to in 10 or 20 years who now work in shops, rep bike companies or coach up-and-coming racers. “That was one of the things I wanted to get back to: an industry I love,” he said. “The whole industry’s just been fantastic. I’ve really missed working with the people in it.”
Maxon has also gotten back in touch with his retail roots: He grew up in his family’s wholesale and retail import business and worked in bike shops during his racing offseason.
When two shops recently left the retail scene in Oregon’s South Coast region, which extends from Coos Bay to the California state line more than 100 miles south, Maxon saw his opportunity. “There’s been a little bit of a void,” he said.
Business took off right out of the gate, and as an essentially one-man operation, Maxon has been burning the midnight oil to keep up with repairs, stocking, ordering and paying the bills. “Virtually every kind of bike has been selling,” he said. “It went straight to red line.”
South Coast Bicycles carries bikes from Specialized, KHS and Nirve as well as products and accessories from such brands as Sock Guy, Tifosi, Serfas, Troy Lee Designs and Look. “We’re trying to bring in different product,” Maxon said. “I selected a lot of brands that aren’t sold in the area.”
He’s also grateful that, as opposed to guiding a client through an audit, his customers these days are always happy to see him. “In accounting there’s a lot of disappointment and angst, whereas here it’s fun. People are enthused.”