Penn Cycle closes abruptly after 61 years in business

But another local bike shop, Freewheel Bike, will take over its locations.
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Penn Cycle, a staple small business in the Twin Cities since 1957, is no more.

On Sunday, the business posted a letter to its Facebook followers announcing the decision to step away - and noting all of its locations would be closed starting Tuesday, March 19.

Penn Cycle was started by Elmer J. Sorensen about 62 years ago, according to the company's history. It's been owned and operated by the family since, with Pat Sorensen selling bikes there for the past 52 years. There are six locations throughout the Twin Cities.

  • Bloomington at 3916 West Old Shakopee Road.
  • Minnetonka at 10750 Cedar Bend.
  • Minneapolis at 710 West Lake Street.
  • Eagan at 2290 Cliff Road.
  • Woodbury at 6415 Lake Road Terrace. 
  • Richfield at 6824 Penn Avenue South. 

On Monday, the business held a goodbye event called "The Last Lock" for Pat Sorensen.

While the name "Penn Cycle" will no longer hang above the doors, each of its stores will live on in spirit.

"After a great deal of consideration," Penn Cycle's letter says, "we’ve decided that the time has come to take a new and exciting step."

Another longtime local bike shop is taking over.

Meet Freewheel Bike

Penn Cycle is essentially being absorbed by Freewheel Bike, a local business founded in the Twin Cities in 1974 by a small group of cyclists. Since then it has grown to four locations (two in Minneapolis, one in each of Roseville and Eden Prairie).

That figure will more than double once the Penn Cycle transition is complete.

Penn Cycle, the Business Journal reports, had been facing some financial troubles, including some rent issues between Pat Sorensen and two siblings.

"We're so proud to be able to build on what Pat and the Penn Cycle crew have created over six decades of sharing their love for riding," Freewheel said in a Facebook post.

The company touts its community focus, including paying employees a "livable wage" above the industry average.

All Penn Cycle locations will remain closed until March 22, at which point they'll reopen under the new Freewheel Bike moniker. And if you happen to have any Penn Cycle gift cards or in-store credit, Freewheel will give you until April 3 to use it.

"We’re confident Freewheel Bike will immediately become a central support network for all cyclists in our community," Penn Cycle's letter says. "While there may be some changes, we hope you find them as exciting as we do and know we are leaving you in good hands."

Come Friday, you'll be able to find out for yourself.

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