Bob’s Cycle Shop at 2203 Shorter Ave. will close for good today, marking the end of nearly a century of bicycle sales and service in Rome.
The “vacancy” sign is also hanging again at 112 W. Second Ave. Mel Funk, owner of Opi’s Buck & Duke Country Saloon on the river in Downtown Rome, confirmed Wednesday afternoon that he is closing the downtown business after one last weekend.
They are the fifth and six business closings reported in the last week, including The Gap at Mount Berry Square mall, Chico’s and Alisha’s Hallmark at Riverbend Center and Savvy Scrubs on West Fourth Avenue.
Bob’s Cycle Shop will close its doors this afternoon.
“We’ll be open until 4:30 p.m., although we might stay until 5 p.m.,” said Michael Carver, who owns the business with his wife, Donna.
Donna Carver said business has been slow this past year and is not expected to pick up any time soon.
“When people are worried about their jobs they don’t go out and spend $300 or more on a bike, especially when you can get one at Walmart for $39,” she said. “It’s not the same bike, not the same quality, but people hold off on quality purchases when the economy’s bad.”
Michael Carver said he sent e-mail notices to his client list saying everything except the bikes is on sale for as much as 70 percent off. What’s left after today will likely end up in cycle shops outside the county or on the eBay or craigslist auction Web sites.
The Carvers had been in talks with a potential buyer but the deal fell through Wednesday. Michael Carver said the quick closing comes because the year is over.
“You could stretch it out, but it’s going to cost me money I don’t have,” he said. “It’s the end of the year, the end of the month, a clean break. Next year I can start my books fresh with just my personal accounting.”
According to the Web site, the store represents almost a century of service by four generations of the Moore family, starting in the early 1900s with F.L. Moore’s Cycle Shop on Second Avenue.
While there have been several changes to its name and location, the store has been in continuous operation since. Bob and Peggy Moore moved the business to its current site in 1982, and the Carvers bought the shop from them in the fall of 2003.
Funk, who has a lengthy resume in the restaurant business, plans to open a new steakhouse in the old Etowah Restaurant at 3766 Martha Berry Highway. He also plans to re-open his old Opi’s in Shannon within 60 days. That location was shut down after an Oct. 17 fire.
Funk said the shop would be called the Etowah, which initially will be open for breakfast and lunch. He hopes to have his dinner menu, featuring hand-cut steaks, ready near the end of January. He also confirmed he is looking for another site for his downtown saloon.
Buck & Duke will perform the New Year’s Eve show at the downtown location tonight while the Backwater Band will perform Friday and Saturday nights to end Opi’s run on the riverfront.
Another downtown restaurant, McCrobie’s, has apparently also shut down. Attempts to reach owner Brent McCrobie have been unsuccessful. City Clerk Joe Smith said that McCrobie does not plan to renew his business, beverage or entertainment licenses.
The McCrobie’s building is owned by Martin Real Estate and Development and actually leased through the end of January 2011 to Doug Pedrick, who formerly operated The Alley at the Broad Street location.
Bill Steiner, executive director of the 15-county Northwest Georgia Regional Commission, said the organization plans to launch a program in early 2010 expressly designed to help small, local businesses.
“Georgia does an outstanding job recruiting new industry but lacks a business-retention and small business assistance focus,” Steiner said. “And look at our economy; what holds it together is small businesses with 20 or less employees.”
The Regional Commission is setting up an economic development committee in January, he said, to look at retaining existing businesses and helping them grow.
“These little ones you’re losing — an early-warning system could have made a difference,” Steiner said.
Staff Writer Diane Wagner and Associate Editor Doug Walker contributed to this report.
Closings at a glance
Dec. 22 — Revelation that Wada Metals of America, Rome’s first major Japanese manufacturer has shut down.
Dec. 23 — The Gap confirms plans to close its Mount Berry Square mall store around the end of January.
Dec. 24 — Chico’s in Riverbend Center announces that plans to shut down around the end of January
Dec. 28 — Alisha’s Hallmark owner Vik Sheth confirms plan to close his store in the Riverbend Center after Valentine’s Day.
Dec. 29 — Savvy Scrubs off West Fourth Avenue reveals its intention to go out of his business around the end of January.
Dec. 30 — Bob’s Cycle Shop and Opi’s Buck & Duke Country Saloon announce they will close.