The Bicycle Center reaches its fifth generation
Fifth generation business, The Bicycle Center, located at 909 S. Main St. in South Williamsport, has been operating since the late 1920s. The store offers what any local might need for their bikes — in house, and even at rail trails along the river and at Pennsylvania College of Technology, the owners said.
Adolph DeVito started the business in the 1920s and passed it down to his son, Daniel DeVito. Now the business is owned and operated by Daniel’s son, Rick, and grandson, Devon.
“My grandfather started this shop in 1928,” Rick DeVito said. “This is our 91st year in business.”
The shop started during the Great Depression in Newberry but moved to what now is Perkins, as building on South Main Street was used for the DeVito family farm, where they raised chickens and turkeys.
Rick’s grandfather repaired bikes during the Depression as a way to make money for the family.
Unfortunately, they had to transition from their home on William Street to the farm due to major flooding in the 40s, the DeVitos said.
After bringing their business to the family farm, now The Bicycle Center, the family continued to repair old bicycles and even sell used ones. Rick DeVito started getting more into the business in the ’70s and the family sold its first brand new bike in 1972.
The fourth generation, Devon DeVito, works to bring the business up to modern retail speeds with new technology, though he still likes to keep parts of the family’s history alive and running in the shop.
“We still use our old crank handle register,” he said. “But I have updated things to be able to be in modern retail.”
Along with updates to retail, the business has worked to keep the community in good hands when it comes bike riding experiences in the city. Four years ago, they put up “fix-it stations” for cyclists on the rail trails at Indian Park and at the Hepburn Street Dam parking lot. This past spring, they partnered with Penn College to get one for campus riders.
“We wanted to provide a better riding experience,” Rick DeVito said.
Devon DeVito is also working with Lycoming College on a student program in addition to the numerous bike safety programs the family has done with local elementary schools.
Getting new customers to visit The Bicycle Center is a goal of Devon’s as he consistently works on updating the presence the center has with its local community, creating “a bigger picture of things.”
“We do everything and anything,” he said. “Seeing more and more people realize that we are here and we have been here forever — it goes back to getting things out into the city.”
For more information, visit The Bicycle Center’s Facebook page and contact the DeVitos for all bicycle needs.