BLACK DIAMOND—We've all heard a lot of stories since the economy went sour about businesses having to close up shop. But, we don't often get a clear picture of how it impacts a community. The only bike shop in the city of Black diamond will be closing its doors for good soon.
Peter Fisher is the owner of Black Diamond Bike & Backcountry, he says shutting down will leave a huge void in the neighborhood. "This is a terrible loss for the community and a terrible loss for biking in this area," said Fisher.
For the last 8 years Fisher's shop has been the place in town where people come to get a new mountain or road bike, or get their old one fixed up. Now, there are going out of business signs in his shop that point to a more painful story of a small business owner who's running on empty.
"We're at a point we can't recover," said Fisher.
Losing a local bike shop like this one in Black Diamond will hurt the local economy but it will also have a negative impact on charities that depend on it for fundraising. Peter often puts people before profit donating bikes for local schools and charities to help them make ends meet.
Peter also helped build bike trails for riders like James Douglas to enjoy.
"Yeah, it is sad, he's donated a lot of time and everything, helped everybody out, so for him to shutdown with this starting to go, kind of a sad deal," said Douglas.
Peter's story isn't unique. Others like Craig Phalen who owns the "Swinging Arm" Restaurant and Tap House says the area has seen a triple whammy over the last two years.
"We got hit with a lot between the bridge, the snow for a couple of weeks, the economy, everything hurt," said Phalan.
The temporary closure of the State Route 169 Bridge came at the height of the hurt. That's when Peter asked the feds for help.
"We've applied to the small business administration over the last year, got denied twice," said Fisher.
He says the government denied nearly 40 other businesses to, calling the loans a bad investment.
"The classic scenario of banks only wanting to give you an umbrella when its sunny out and take it back when it's raining," said Fisher.
Peter has few more bikes to repair, and then he'll lock up the store for good. Not the ending he had in mind but he's glad he got the chance at least for awhile to share his passion with the community.
"It's been tremendous, I think we've made a great impact," said Fisher.
Peter says barring an "angel" investor that steps in at the last minute to help, he'll be forced to close the shop at the end of March. There is an outside chance someone might buy the company which means Black Diamond will still have a bike shop.