Sunshine Bike Shop in Springfield, MO Ushers in a New Era
Joshua Even worked at Sunshine Bike Shop for 11 years before he purchased the shop with his wife, Micah, and took over as owner in 2018. He hopes that 2019 will be the year he puts his stamp on a business held near and dear to 417-landers.
By Evan Greenberg
As Springfield has changed and evolved, Sunshine Bike Shop (1926 E. Sunshine St., Springfield) has remained a constant. It has undergone ownership changes, but with each of those regimes, there’s been longevity.
Kay Meeker ran the shop from almost the turn of the century and had long decided she was going to work until she didn’t want to work. When that time came, the transition over to Joshua Even—who had been the general manager of the shop for 11 years—was sudden and finite.
Meeker’s emotional pull from parting with the shop in addition to figuring out a long-term solution and specific numbers complicated the deal, but the two parties worked things out.
“I went from being concerned about my future to owning a shop within 48 hours,” says Even, who purchased the shop from Meeker along with his wife, Micah.
For Even, the most important lesson has been learning not to do too much too fast. That he was already so familiar with the shop and had an understanding of the day-to-day affairs made a discernible impact, but he admits it also made him a bit overeager.
There are certain responsibilities an owner has that a general manager does not—finances, writing checks, being the face of a business. “In a lot of ways, I have to be respectful to my staff because I would just bounce things off them that I was worried about,” Even says. “And they’d be like, ‘Hey man, you’ve been here before, you’ve done this before.’ I had a lot of support from them to be successful. I think everybody was really happy to see the change come.”
“[We want to] make it feel brand new to people who have been coming here for years.”— Joshua Even
Even admits that he hasn’t done a great job announcing that the shop was under new ownership, but perhaps it is a testimony to how seamless the transition has been that customers haven’t seemed to notice. “We try to be nice to everybody that comes in the door and make sure that we’re listening to what they need and helping them out no matter what their situation is,” Even says.
It's this reputation that Even said has also been a nice way to frame perspective as a new business owner—a bad day does not equal a bad month or a bad year.
As he approaches the year mark of his tenure, his own stamp on the business is starting to take shape. Even would like to give the inside of the shop a bit of a revamp. He’s talked about changing the flow of the store and optimizing the shop’s space. He has also learned to take a step back. He had to recognize the importance of “work[ing] on the business, not in the business”—namely, delegating a bit and letting some things take care of themselves.
Sunshine Bike Shop celebrated its 50th year in 2018, and it’s fitting that this anniversary coincided with a change in ownership. Its 51st year will be about starting anew and staying fresh with an owner who is committed to the business.
“I want to continue the shop for the next 10 to 20 years, no problem,” Even says.
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