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First Flight Bicycles to remain open following sale

Published August 10, 2017
First Flight Bicycles remains open for business.

STATESVILLE, N.C. (BRAIN) — In the months following retailer Jeff Archer's death after being struck by a car while crossing the street last July, the fate of his shop, First Flight Bicycles, remained uncertain.

Archer's wife Julie considered selling the shop, which also houses Archer's extensive private collection of vintage bicycles, but for various reasons decided not to pursue that path. Earlier this year, she announced the store would close sometime during the summer, but thanks to a pair of concerned First Flight fans, that never happened.

"When Julie announced she was closing a lot of people came in and told us how terrible they thought it was," said Wes Davidson, who has worked at First Flight since 1997. "And a couple of them stepped up and said they would love to see First Flight continue, and we were able to strike a deal. Part of the tragedy of Jeff's death is that Julie didn't know what to expect and what to do, but in the in the end, the sale has been a very good thing. We'll continue to push to make it great and even better."

Davidson, who was Archer's sole employee for years, also has a stake in the company and will continue to run day-to-day operations. He did not name the new buyers and said they will act as silent partners in the business. The museum and Archer's bike collection were not part of the sale.

Since the announcement was made that the store would remain open, Davidson said First Flight has expanded and diversified its product offering. It also ended its years-long partnership with Trek and recently became a Specialized and Cannondale dealer.

Davidson said the store has increased the number of bikes it stocks and has more tire, helmet and shoe offerings than it had previously. He is also looking to hire more staff. Since Archer passed away, Davidson has run the store largely on his own.

"We have double the bikes and more P&A, and we keep getting more repairs," he said. "One guy can't do it all anymore."

A grand re-opening was held August 4-6 as part of the Crossroads Classic Criterium Series, which First Flight sponsors.

 

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