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Sports Business

Founder selling Bicycle Garage Indy

January 16, 2014

A cycling institution since it was founded in Indianapolis in 1983, the Bicycle Garage of Indy is changing ownership.

Company founder and president Randy Clark announced on Thursday that a 5-to-10-year plan to transfer ownership to Scott Helvie is in place.

Helvie has 14 years experience in the cycling and fitness industry, five of those with BGI. Helvie has worked in manufacturing, sales and distribution.

Clark said annual sales in 2009 for his firm neared $10 million. The company currently has 100 part- and full-time employees.

BGI Helvie Clark 15col Scott Helvie, left, will become BGI's chief operating officer while ownership shifts from Randy Clark.

Helvie, 37, has taken a minority ownership stake in BGI and will function as the company’s chief operating officer with responsibility for day-to-day operations. Eventually, Helvie will acquire a majority stake in the firm. For now, Clark will remain as board chairman and chief financial officer of the company.

“All of our values and culture will remain intact, and in fact be strengthened by Scott’s presence,” Clark said. “Scott is fully capable of taking BGI to the next level.  We have an outstanding and experienced management team, all of whom know and respect Scott’s talents.”

BGI started with a single store in Castleton and now includes a location on Indianapolis’ south side and one downtown. BGI was once affiliated with the Bicycle Garage store in Bloomington, but no longer is.

Clark, 65, is fond of weaving the tale that launched BGI. In 1980. Clark was working at Eli Lilly & Co. and smoking two packs of cigarettes a day when a friend challenged him to ride a bicycle to the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tenn.
 
The six-day, 600-mile sojourn changed Clark’s life. He quit smoking and became an avid cyclist.
 
In 1983, he combined his love of cycling and his desire to own a business, opening BGI in a 3,000-square-foot spot in a Castleton strip mall. He left Eli Lilly in 1986 to operate BGI full-time.

Clark expanded the business to include fitness equipment and moved into a larger Castleton location on East 82nd Street in 1995. In 1998, BGI—through an acquisition—expanded to the city’s far south side. In 2011, BGI opened a location downtown at the City Market as part of the city’s high-profile bike hub. BGI also has a distribution center in northeast Indianapolis.

 

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