Earl's experience with bicycles began early on in life. As a young boy, he spent hours alongside his father in their workshop, fixing bikes and absorbing a wealth of information on the subject. By the age of 14, Earl was buying, fixing, and re-selling bicycles from his own basement workshop, showing signs of a budding entrepreneur as well as bike mechanic. In the summer of 2003, Earl began working at Shirk's Bike Shop. This broadened his horizons, and gained him valuable insights into the bike and business world.
On January 1st of 2006, Earl purchased Zimmerman's Bike Shop in Mifflinburg, PA, and named it Big Earl's Bike Shop. Earl's nickname of 'Big Earl' came from a line of mountain bike parts called 'Big Earl'. Ironically, Earl is a man of slight build! In addition to Earl, the work force eventually came to include Joe Weaver, the head mechanic, Jon Weaver, and Allen Ray Zimmerman.
In March of 2010, he opened a second location, this time in Lewisburg along Rt. 15 This new store was dedicated to the Giant line of bikes and gear, and was simply called 'Earl's Bicycle Store'. The teal and orange theme colors from 'Big Earl's' was dropped in favor of Giant's deep blue and steel gray color, and the Giant logo was also included in new store title. While Earl focused on establishing this new location, his trusted head mechanic, Joe, ran the Mifflinburg location with the help of Allen Ray. The crew along Rt 15 at first consisted of Jon Weaver as mechanic, and Earl's wife, Lisa, as bookkeeper. Within a year, it was apparent that the two shops were too close together, and the Mifflinburg location was closed in September of 2011. As the business grew, Marcus Hurst and Rylan Bennett came on board as full time mechanics. Randy Sprenkle, Ron Marquette, Scot Wagner, and various other part-time workers filled in throughout the years.
Lack of adequate space quickly became an issue, however, and the search was on for larger facilities. Late in 2013 Earl and Lisa acquired the former Tri-County Auto Parts building along Fairground Rd in Lewisburg. The main shop building required a great deal of remodeling to make it usable as a bicycle retail store, and the winter of 2013 and 2014 was spent in intensive renovations. Even though the store was not open as a bicycle shop during those months, Earl took over the U-haul rentals from Barry Boughter, the previous owner, and continued to rent out trucks and trailers all through that winter. By the end of March, the new property was nearing completion, and on April 3, 2014, 'Earl's Bicycle Store' at 427 Fairground Rd was opened for business. Rylan and Marcus continued as employees, and Lisa helped with the office work, and cared for the children- Erla, Elsie, and Ethan. That fall, Kendra Shirk took over the book work, giving Lisa more time for her family. In the spring of 2015, Earl's brother Leroy Rissler joined the crew as mechanic/sales person. Baby Elysa's arrival to Earl and Lisa's family in the summer was a highlight of 2015 as well.
Earl's Bicycle Store continues to grow and change to accommodate our customers better. The Used/Consignment Bike Barn opened in the summer of 2015, and Earl's Cafe/Bakery was added in November. Renovations and improvements continue both on the sales floor and in the shop work area as we endeavor to become more efficient in serving our valued customers.