The late Charlie Siftar’s bike shop continues to operate at 48th & Grand under the watch of Siftar’s friend and employee.
“Nothing that I do is going to change the way we do business,” said Mike O’Leary. “When someone walks in the door, I don’t necessarily want them to be a customer, I want them to be a friend.”
The day after Charlie collapsed on a bike ride last February, his wife told employees they could close up and not worry about coming to work. O’Leary offered to keep the doors open, and now he’s keeping the doors open permanently as the shop owner.
O’Leary said he’s also planning to continue Siftar’s volunteer work at Washburn High School race days, where he’ll help with mechanical checks and any bike failures.
“It’s humbling to be in the position I’m in,” he said.
Rebranded as Tangletown Bike Shop (with a new Facebook page) the store is a full-service shop servicing any kind of bike, offering everything from tube changes to full overhauls. The shop carries KaZam balance bikes, touring bikes, commuting bikes, fat tire bikes and some used product.
They’ve started doing group rides with Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub, recently riding fat bikes at the Minnesota River Valley’s “low road.”
For help with the books, O’Leary has found a business partner in South Lyndale Liquors owner Dan Campo, a customer and friend. Siftar’s wife Rebecca continues to assist with Open Streets events.
O’Leary said he’s worked in the bike industry for about 15 years at five different companies.
“This is where and when I felt like I had a home,” he said.