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Dinkytown bike shop to close for good next month

The owner of Varsity Bike blamed a changing retail environment, both online and in Minneapolis.
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The Dinkytown institution that is Varsity Bike will permanently close next month.

The closure was announced by Rob DeHoff in an email to shoppers, shared on Twitter by @MarcyHolmesMpls, who says his store at 1316 4th St. SE. will close at the end of September.

His reasons for the closure are threefold, including the fact that online shopping "has made it more challenging as a brick and mortar store."

He also said the "business environment in Dinkytown has changed significantly, especially in the last five years," and is choosing to "invest my time in a different direction."

The store is now running a liquidation sale, with 10 percent off bikes and 20 percent off parts and accessories.

The discounts will get steeper closer to the closure date, but DeHoff notes that "the good stuff goes first."

DeHoff started the business in 1995, moving in 2008 to its current location (next to Erik's Bike & Board Shop) from its former location opposite the Varsity Theater, per the Twin Cities Daily Planet.

Dinkytown has undergone a transformation in the past few years, with major construction projects bringing large-scale, luxury student housing to the neighborhood on the doorstep of the University of Minnesota.

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It's having a mixed impact on business, judging by this Minnesota Daily article from last November looking at some of the recent changes to the area, with the higher-density bringing more people to the neighborhood, but not necessarily more business.

Irv Herschkovitz, of the Dinkytown Business Alliance board, told the Daily: "We did more business before all this change."

Other long-running businesses to have closed down in Dinkytown in recent years include Kafe 421, Vescio's Italian, Espresso Royale, House of Hanson, and the Dinkytowner Cafe, prompting CityPages to describe the changes in Dinkytown as a "corporatized death spiral" as more chain businesses move in.

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