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Greg Cordasco, longtime owner of Liberty Cycle in New Jersey, dies at 56

Published April 27, 2019

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. (BRAIN) — Greg Cordasco, a former bond trader who left Wall Street to follow his passion of owning and operating a neighborhood bicycle shop in New Jersey, died Wednesday of brain cancer.

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He was 56. He is survived by wife Ingrid and three children.

Cordasco owned Liberty Cycle in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. He opened the store in 1990 after unknotting his tie and kicking off his dress shoes for the final time.

"People thought I was walking away from a dream job," Cordasco told the My Central Jersey website in a story published last October. "But the dream job for me was to be doing what I loved and what I wanted to do."

Also a competitive cyclist, Cordasco won the masters track cycling championship in 2017.

"He was the padrone in group rides," said Gary Thornton, business development manager for Bicycle Blue Book. "Passion just oozed out of Greg. Every time I walked into his store, he would have a big smile. He was known for his massive bear hugs."

Also known for his competitiveness on the bike, Cordasco insisted friendliness ruled at Liberty Cycle.

"I met Greg through working at Fuji as he was one of our dealers, and he was quite well-known in the racing circles in the area," said Steven Fairchild, global road product manager for Fuji and Kestrel, and who knew Cordasco for 20 years. "What struck me about him was the strong community he created around his store and his cycling club/team. I often told him if I owned a store, I'd want my store to be like his. His store was more of a clubhouse than a traditional retail store with a cash-register-focused business."

According to the My Central Jersey story, Liberty Cycle enjoyed steady growth until the 2008 recession. But the shop survived that downturn and subsequent rise of online direct-to-consumer sales with a community-minded business plan. In 2017, a café was opened inside the shop. Cordasco organized regular group and made sure the pace remained steady so that no one was left behind, Thornton said. Cordasco also created the Olde Mill Inn Tour of Basking Ridge, which has been held the past 27 years.

"He was a member of the community, a big part of it," said Thornton, who first met Cordasco 14 years ago as a sales representative for Giant Bicycles. "He wanted the community to be part of the shop. It wasn't a high-volume store; it was a high-relationship store."

Cordasco's cancer, glioblastoma, originally was diagnosed in 2017. Thornton said that's when Cordasco reached out to area bike shop owners to take him to his chemotherapy treatments as a way to bring competing factions together.

"I can't believe he's gone," Thornton said. "He had a booming personality and an unbelievable love of family."

Glioblastoma is the same cancer that killed Sen. John McCain less than a year ago.

 

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