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Bay Area retailer retires; employees take over

Published August 20, 2013

VALLEJO, CA (BRAIN) — When Authorized Bicycle Shop owner Mike Kramer made the decision to retire, he didn’t want to sell the store to just anyone.

“I went to my employees and told them it was time for me to get out,” said Kramer. “And I proposed a plan that would make it easy for them to buy the shop.”

Scott Hill and Dave Kerr, each longtime Authorized employees, took the opportunity to buy the store from Kramer over the course of several years.

Kerr, who has worked at the store for 33 years, said that none of the staff wanted to see the shop close.

“This shop has a lot of history,” said Kerr. “We wanted to keep working here.”

Kramer bought Authorized in 2000 after his first retirement from a 30-year career in the restaurant business. Original owners Gary and Mary Cook, who opened the store as Authorized Bikes and Mowers in 1968, were good customers at Kramer’s restaurants.

“After I sold my last restaurant, I was in the bike shop and Gary asked me what I was going to do next. I said, ‘I’m going to open a bike shop and put you out of business,’ ” said Kramer.

“He offered to sell Authorized to me because he was ready to retire, and by the next day, I owned the store.”

The 3,000-square-foot full-service shop carries Raleigh, Diamondback and Haro and has been in the same building — which Kramer owns — since it opened 45 years ago.

Kramer plans to help Hill and Kerr in the store a couple days a week until the end of the year. After working full time for more than 50 years, Kramer said that even though he’ll miss the shop, he’s ready to retire.

“My wife’s got a long ‘honey-do’ list for me, so that will keep me busy,” he laughed. “And I’m also excited to have more time to play music and ride my bike.”

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