Belleville bike shop closing after 70 years

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BELLEVILLE, IL (KPLR) – In Belleville sits a bike store with a little history.

'How many bikes do you think you've sold in your life?' asks Patrick Clark.
'Oh my,' exclaims Ron Hettenhausen the owner of Endres Cyclery.

When you drive down the west end of Belleville you'll find a couple who've been married for 61 years and their business that's been there for 70 years.

'This is history,' says Ron Hettenhausen.
'Great location,' says Joann Hettenhausen.

But Endres Cyclery is setting off into the sunset. They`re closing their doors and retiring.

'We've been in business on this corner since 1917,' says Hettenhausen.

That's when Ron Hettenhausen's grandfather, Adolph Endres first began in Belleville.

'Started out as St. Clair bus lines and then they bought Belleville St. Louis Coach Company,' says Hettenhausen.

The bus company ran throughout Southern Illinois. It later became an automobile dealership selling Packard`s and Studebakers.

'Endres was my grandfather,' says Hettenhausen.
'You kept the name,' says Clark.
'I kept the name because I didn't think Hettenhausen would sound good,' says Hettenhausen.

In 1965 Ron and Joann saddled up with Schwinn and began selling bikes.

'I was the youngest dealer in the nation,' says Hettenhausen referring to his days selling Studebakers.  'And now I'm the oldest bicycle dealer.'

But come August 20th the Hettenhausen's will retire from this corner, a place where they sold a lot of bicycles.

Just look at the plaques on the wall to paint the whole picture of just how many in a given year.

'One thousand bikes on each one of them,' says Hettenhausen.  'So I'd say 15 or 20 thousand.'

That's a lot of happy summer memories for many in Belleville and beyond.

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Email: patrick.clark@tvstl.com