OSWEGO — Two Oswego natives have joined together to follow their dreams and overcome the hurdles of opening a community-centered bike and skate shop.
John and John Bike & Skate Shop is scheduled to open Feb. 24 at 202 W Second St., the former NAPA Auto Parts store. According to the co-founder John Solazzo, JJBS will be a “one-stop shop in Oswego for a sports store.”
The two young entrepreneurs, Solazzo, 25, and John Hill, 26, are lifelong friends who have always been very enthusiastic about outdoor activities since meeting while playing baseball at a young age.
“With hard work, determination, and a dream, you can go wherever you want to and we are looking forward to working with the community and getting to know our customers,” Hill said.
Solazzo brings years of experience traveling the United States as a downhill mountain bike racer who will lead the business’s mechanical services. Hill will handle the shop’s sales and administrative aspects utilizing his experience managing the CBD store Our Remedies in Syracuse.
The pair said the store will provide the community with an alternative location for biking and outdoor activities.
“We’re looking to be familiar and involved in the community. We want to be there for the kids. That’s one of the main things we are focusing on,” Solazzo said, noting that the 2,832-square-foot space is in a prime location across from Paul’s Big M and PJ’s Ice Cream.
Solazzo said that the shop would introduce innovative classes and programs that go further than just selling and repairing bikes. Their services, titled the Toddler Trade-In Program and Better Bike Bureau, are only a few of the programs Solazzo and Hill said they plan to introduce.
“With the Toddler Trade-In Program, if someone buys a bike and comes back when the child wants to upgrade to the next size, then they get a discount toward the new bike,” Hill said. “Once kids outgrow the bike they have no use for it. Now they will be able to recycle it back into the community for another child to ride.”
The Better Bike Bureau is a yearly subscription service that will allow consumers to have their bikes taxied to the shop if requiring repairs and emergency bike assistance within Oswego’s city limits.
Starting the business was challenging, not in the way of COVID-related complications, but in attaining inventory for the store, the owners said.
“We applied to 36 different (skating and biking) companies, and we only got accepted to four of them. About 26 or 27 of them said they only work with already established businesses,” Solazzo said. Hill added that they had the location secured at one point but without any sources of inventory.
Hill said the four companies they are receiving products from will be Haro Bikes, Specialized Bikes, POC Sports and AWH Skateboarding Distribution.
Hill said the venture has been funded entirely by the two of them and close family and friends. He also noted that friends and the two completed all the renovations on the inside of the building.
“We’re only waiting on inventory. We finished up the showroom, and our bike inventory should arrive within the next two weeks,” Solazzo said.
The Oswego natives said that they are eager to bring their dream to the community and plan on creating a friendly environment focused on giving children and families additional means to enjoy outdoor activities.
“It’s honestly surreal at this point, and I’m incredibly grateful for this,” Hill said. “A lot of years of determination and hard work went into saving up for something. I was not sure what that something would be, but I am happy things fell into place with John and me.”
To learn more about the business, visit www.johnandjohns.com or call 315-216-4849.