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Longtime Seattle-area retailer passes away

Published July 15, 2016
Dennis Estrin

REDMOND, Wash. (BRAIN) —  Dennis Estrin, who founded Redmond Cycle in 1968 with his wife Marie, passed away on June 17 from complications of Lou Gehrig's disease. He had recently celebrated his 80th birthday.

A native of North Dakota, Estrin moved to Seattle in the 1950s. There, he worked for Boeing for many years, traveling the world to rehabilitate crashed but salvageable aircraft. The Estrins later relocated to Grant's Pass, Oregon, to operate a small motel located off Highway 99, about halfway between the Bay Area and Seattle.

When Estrin caught wind of the construction of Interstate 5, which would direct traffic away from the Grant's Pass city center, he and Marie moved back to Seattle. Looking for a new career, Estrin decided to open a bike shop. He trained at Marie's family's bike shop in Seattle, Gregg's Greenlake Cycles, founded by her grandfather in 1932.

"He was a quick study," said Stan Gregg, Estrin's brother-in-law and current owner of three Gregg's Cycles locations in Seattle. "He was mechanically minded and it only took him about three weeks to get up to speed repairing bikes."

The Estrins opened as a Schwinn dealer in a 1,000 square-foot space in Redmond, home of the Redmond Bike Derby since 1940, and the self-proclaimed cycling capitol of the Northwest.

"It was funny, the city called itself the cycling capitol, but Dennis' store was the first bike shop in Redmond," said Gregg, a lawyer by trade who began working in the family business during college and later operated a mobile repair business in Oregon before joining the business full time in 1975.

In 1983, the Estrins co-founded Gregg's Bellevue store, the Gregg family's second shop, with Stan Gregg.

The Estrins worked side-by-side at Redmond Cycle, now a Trek dealer, until 1994 when they retired. He sold the business to his brother Ernie Estrin and his wife Linda, who operate the shop today. Ernie's son Brian is in the process of taking over the business, and Dennis' daughter still works there.

"It's truly a family affair," Gregg said. "It's now three generations who've run and worked in the shop."

Once retired, the Estrins continued to cycle, enjoyed fishing and riding their horses. They built a cabin, two barns and a house on 20 acres just east of Redmond, but wintered in Arizona. Estrin also restored antique cars and tractors, which he routinely drove in local parades.

Estrin is survived by his daughters, Ann and Cindy, and his wife Marie. A memorial service was held for Estrin on July 9.

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