Hyde Park bicycle repair shop DJ’s Bike Doctor is set to close this summer following financial difficulties.
“It’s time to move on,” owner David Jones said. Jones has not yet set a date to shut down DJ’s Bike Doctor, but he says the store, located at 1344 East 55th Street, will be closed by August.
DJ’s Bike Doctor first opened its doors in 2009. Since then, the business has experienced declining demand. Jones says that tough economic times and a cultural shift away from biking are to blame.
“Some of it’s the Internet, some of it’s Divvy, some of it’s that people just don’t have the money for bikes and bike repairs,” he said. “They buy a cheap bike and treat it like it’s disposable.”
In addition to declining demand, DJ’s Bike Doctor has struggled with tax problems in recent years. Two successive accountants failed to properly file the business’s taxes, leaving Jones $30,000 in debt to the IRS. A GoFundMe Jones created last year, which aimed to raise $25,000 to defray the tax costs, had only raised $555 as of May 9.
Although Hyde Park boasts two other bicycle repair shops, Ancien Cycles & Café and Tamago Coffee and Bikes, Jones does not think competition played a role in his store’s difficulties.
“Those other shops are really just cafés,” he said. “Once I’m gone, there won’t be any real bike repair shops on the South Side.”
Jones has worked in the Hyde Park bicycle repair business for approximately 30 years. He says he is sad to go, but is ready to retire to Arizona with his girlfriend and enjoy the warm weather.
Jones hopes that Hyde Park’s residents will continue to bike long after his shop closes down.
“I commute by bike every day,” he said. “I think it’s the best way to get around. Better for you, better for the planet.”