Where were you in 1971? Were you rockin’ out to the Stones? Driving around in the awesome powered Ford BOSS 351 Mustang? Visiting the newly opened Walt Disney World? Or maybe, you weren’t even born yet. Well, 1971 is the year that Jax Bicycle Center was conceived. Jack Salem jumped into the wonderful world of bicycle retail in Long Beach California. From there, the rest is history.
Welcome to the Jax Bicycle Center Story
In 1971, during the bicycle boom, Jack Salem started a small 1,500 square foot bicycle store in Long Beach, CA. His business expanded over the next 28 years to include four locations and to be known as Jax Bicycle Centers, one of the most respected retail bicycle businesses in America.
In the summer of 1976 in Orange County, CA Dave Hanson, an energetic high school sophomore, started in the bicycle business. Dave worked his way up from floor sweeper, to mechanic, to sales person, and finally as the manager of South Whittier Bike Shop. In 1982, Dave looking for a bigger challenge, took a position at a multi-store business. He stayed there for nine months and learned how not to run a retail bicycle business.
Dave went to work for Bud Campbell. Bud owned two stores, one that he purchased from the Jerry Mulrooney organization. This is where Dave developed his people skills, management skills, and learned to hustle for clients.
In 1986, Dave and his wife Liz realized that it was important to build equity and decided to purchase a home. They scraped, saved, and signed up for the Newlywed Game. They won a fancy pop up trailer, sold the trailer and immediately put the proceeds with their savings towards their first home.
During the Reagan years, Dave was motivated to start his own business. He had seen the value of his home steadily increase and felt that he could better utilize the equity. So he worked with an owner to get his own shop. He borrowed on his home, cashed in his 401k, and quit his job. With a higher mortgage payment and more responsibilities, he found a partner and purchased La Habra Cyclery.
After two years and nine months, Dave got his partner to buy him out of La Habra Cyclery. He took that money and purchased Village Bicycle Shop in Yorba Linda. The La Habra deal didn’t afford the outright buyout, so Dave made payments for five years on the Yorba Linda Shop purchase.
In June 1997, Dave got wind that Jack Salem was interested in selling his Jax Fullerton location, 45 days later, Dave owned it. That store was called The Bicycle Center because the “JAX” name was not available yet, as Jack owned three other Jax locations.
In 1998, through a conversation with Jack, Dave found out that Jack was ready to part with the other three shops. That night, in Dave’s garage with a few Mickey’s Big Mouths and a cigar, he decided he needed to beg, and borrow again to make it happen. In March 1999, the other three Jax locations and the Jax Bicycle Center name were purchased. The strategy has been focused on constant improvement, constant learning, and consistent change in order to keep the business on the cutting edge of bicycle retail in Orange County, CA.
2000 to the present
Dave made a commitment in 2005 that he wanted to grow the business to ten locations and own five of his buildings within the next five years. As part of that vision, Dave purchased his sixth location in Claremont, CA in April 2006. At the same time, he purchased land and began the arduous process of building a small shopping center in Murrieta, CA
In 2007 we purchased a bicycle business in Mission Viejo, CA. In October 2009 we opened our Murrieta store, bringing the total to eight retail locations.
There you have it, all you ever wanted to know about the history of Jax Bicycle Center, well, at least the highlights. Forty-one years strong!
All employee picture taken January 2012 in front of the newly relocated Irvine location.