After nearly 45 years in the bike, snowboard and skateboard business in Southwest, The Alt owner Jay Erickson is ready to fully retire.
The longtime small business owner has put his building at 3013 Lyndale Ave. S. up for sale but is hopeful The Alt will be able to continue in some capacity with some of his current staff running the operation.
“I don’t want to see it go away,” he said.
The current LynLake building The Alt has called home for the past 13 years will be sold, however. Erickson said he’s been semi-retired for the past few years, with his staff handling most day-to-day operations. He said he’s been approached by larger development firms, but ideally would like to sell to a local merchant.
“I’d rather have an independent business person in there,” he said.
The Alt launched in 1974 when Erickson left a bike retail store to launch his own shop at 24th & Hennepin, where rent at the time was $100 per month. The Alt was one of the first snowboard and skateboard shops in the country, Erickson said. Over the years, the shop built a stable of loyal customers and a reputation as a fast and reliable repair location, one that could get riders going quickly. After 32 years, the store moved to LynLake in 2006.
“We’re a community service shop,” he said.
These days, online retail has eaten up other parts of the business, such as direct sales of bikes and boards, he said. Many people will order their rides online and bring it in to be assembled.
There is no clear timetable for the building sale, Erickson said, but he anticipates it will take place by the end of August. Where any future iteration of The Alt might go is also unclear, but with a stable customer base in South Minneapolis, he hopes it won’t be far away.
“I still believe there is a future for The Alt,” he said.