Tony and J.J. Salvo didn’t want to live in a Council Bluffs without a bicycle shop.
When longtime Xtreme Wheels owner Zach Somers decided the time was right to get out of the business — on the heels of a record-breaking year as area residents sought something to do outside amidst the COVID-19 pandemic — the Salvos stepped in.
“The community needs a bike shop,” J.J. Salvo said. “We’re learning, but we know we have a lot of support.”
Somers’ father Bill opened Xtreme in 1999, and it’s been at its current location at 33 S. Main St. for the last 10 years. Within the past few years, both True Wheel and Endless Trail moved out of Council Bluffs.
“A 20-year-old business, only one in town, same location for 10 years,” Tony Salvo said. “I figured I could make at least a living and do this the next 20 years.”
Tony will run the day-to-day operations at the shop — handling customer service, repairs and having fun promoting the business on social media — and J.J. will use her years of payroll and QuickBooks experience as business manager, while also keeping her full-time job.
“That was one of the main motivators,” Tony Salvo said of the pieces falling into place — a solid market and the right experience, plus the dream of running his own business.
“I said ‘Let’s do it,’” he said.
The deal with Somers started percolating in late December and was finalized this month. Salvo put in his two weeks at his job and didn’t look back.
“I’m just excited,” Tony said. “I always wanted to go into business for myself. Be my own boss, set my own hours.”
Zach Somers said he wants to spend more time with his wife and daughters and in a Facebook post about selling the business noted, “the store needs new energy.” He was thankful for the years of business and relationships built over the years.
It was the right time to get out, Somers told the Nonpareil.
“With the pandemic, our business exploded last year. We did more business last year than any other year in history,” he said. “It allowed us to pay off all the things we needed to. And provided me an opportunity not to feel like I was leaving the shop in a bad spot. It gave me the opportunity to move on.”
Somers will assist in the transition as the Salvos take over, and has already worked to introduce Tony to industry players. Tony’s first task is building inventory back up. The showroom floor currently has reasonably-priced used bikes, along with a variety of parts and accessories, along with some donated items from supporters. He’s also secured orders with Australian-based Reid Cycles, with shipments set to arrive in the spring.
It’s a tough market right now, with demand high for a variety of products. But whatever the shop doesn’t have in stock at the moment, Tony said he’s able to make orders for customers to help out.
The Salvos are both longtime avid riders, and were well established in the local bicycling scene before meeting. They’ve been married since June of 2018.
They hope the shop will continue to be a base of operations for local cyclists. There’s an existing ride that shoves off from Xtreme on Wednesday nights. Tony said he plans to start a similar Saturday night ride.
“A Taco Ride where you don’t have to get up in the morning,” Tony said, referring to the longtime Thursday night trek along the Wabash Trace from Council Bluffs to Mineola.
The new owners have the support of the former owner.
Somers said he’s proud of what his father and he built over the years, and was happy to share his plans on Facebook as a “good-bye.” And he knows the shop is in good hands.
“I didn’t want to ghost everyone. It seemed like the wrong way to go,” he said, then adding about the future, “Having an opportunity with Tony to perpetuate our legacy — he’s an excellent choice for that.”