“You must love what you’re doing to be here 53 years. If you hate your job, you’re not going to last long,” said Pappas. “I love the bikes; I love fixing them, I love repairing them.”
That isn’t to say that Grand Bicycle hasn’t had its share of difficulties. Bicycle sales have been down since the recession hit, as people are finding themselves with less money to spend on luxuries like a shiny new bike. However, Grand Bicycle has seen an increase in service and repair orders. “Especially with the economy being tough, people are riding more for exercise and to economize on the automobile and gas expenses. They find bikes in their basements that have been sitting there for 20 years and they drag them up and get them rolling again,” said Pappas.
One of the things Pappas loves about starting a business in the community he grew up in is that he’s watched some of his customers grow up right before his eyes.
“We used to sell you a bike, now we’re selling your kids bikes. It’s gratifying to see generations changing and the younger generation coming in and to be servicing them,” he said.
Pappas retired in 2002, handing the reins over to his son Dean, a fellow bike enthusiast and former racer. Father and son have often ridden together in the 40-plus miles Five Boro Bike Tour. Pappas still works part-time at Grand Bicycle to lend a helping hand however he can. “I’m very confident in Dean’s ability to maintain the business and to help it grow,” said Pappas. “Hopefully it will stay in the family a long time, another 53 years.”