Hey, we're not some big-box seller of toy bikes and treadmills. We're specialist's in the world of bike, triathlon & fitness equipment. Trouble is, some people don't know the difference. Well, co-owner Brent Emery puts it like this. "The world dosen't need to keep filling landfills at a record rate with $10 jeans, $10 shoes, $99 bikes, and $400 treadmills." We offer reasonably priced products that give real value and lifespan. And we guarantee our prices along with terrific service! Maybe that's why we've been voted Milwaukee's Best Bike Shop a number of times in the past few years.
We're not the only shop for you to get the products we sell, but when you look at what is best for you, you're very likely to want to shop at your store. You read right, YOUR store! You are the reason we are here. Now, on to our history, the Emery family, Brent's Olympic story, our development into one of the premier bike fitting studios, and then a chance to meet the staff.
The Emery family opens our 1st store in 1963.
Marilyn & Richard Emery founded Emerys in 1963 on 23rd and Fond Du Lac Avenue in Milwaukee. A true family business, our home was 2 doors away from the store. An attention to quality work, quality products and personal customer service was and is the foundation of our business.Marilyn ran the books, and Richard was the head of the shop.
Over the years, all seven of the Emery children (Christine, Karen, MaryKay, Craig, Brent, Elizabeth and Ben) have worked in the business, some part time, some full time. Sons, Brent and Ben Emery have chosen to make it their careers and now own the company. Here is a timeline of our business. If you have any anecdotes from the past 4+ decades we've been serving you, please forward them to us.
1963: Richard had worked for 16 years for Allen Bradley prior to seeing his true calling to own his own business. While at Allen Bradley as a machinist and welder, he was on the crew that made the hands for the iconic Allen Bradley clock, the worlds largest four faced clock. He was active in his community and church, working for racial equality, was active in politics and assisted locally with John Kennedys presidential campaign, as well as running for a state senate seat. Marilyn worked for and supported all his efforts.
After the Emerys had bought an existing bike shop around the corner from their home, increasing the business was Richard and Marilyns first priority. They were creative at thinking outside the lines. In addition to the day-to-day in-store business, Richard secured a contract with the local Sears store to to warranty work for their bike division. He secured contracts from a few local furniture stores doing welding for metal chairs and tables. Once, he even bought SEVEN semi loads full of toys and odds and ends from JC Pennys and filled all four floors of their business with tables to spread the goods out for sale. That was like an ant farm there were so many customers. As far as bicycles went, the big sellers of the day were 3 speed bikes, cruiser bikes and kids bikes.
1966: To draw more total people through the doors, Richard rented out some showroom space to Len Snell, who sold TV's. We also sold and sharpened Ice Skates during the winters... seems like the winters were snowier and longer back then to be able to skate more often. Brands of bikes we sold back then were Vista, Columbia, Roger Riviere, Ranger Ultra, and Jeunet among others. Jeunet was a very light French bike, one of the first truely light bikes in the US. We were their first dealer in this part of the US. Richard saw and corrected an alignment problem they had. He got ahold of the factory to let them know how to fix it. The president of Jeunet personally thanked Richard on his next trip to the US! Road bikes were starting to sell.
1967: This was a time of trouble in Milwaukee that affected the entire city, as well as other US cities. The Riots of 1967. Our business was on a corner that overlooked an intersection. The lower front face of the building had a flat roof with a ledge on it. From that point, the local police took up a command post, along with Richard and a few others businessmen from that corner. Because they held firm, that intersection was not looted or burned. That year we became a Raleigh bicycle dealer.
1968: Emerys opened a second location on 64th & Lisbon Avenue. It was a smaller store with living quarters behind it. It is amazing how small it really was, but with lots of product and great service, it was successful. Christmas sales of bicycles at that time rivaled sales in spring. Bicycles are one of the great Christmas gifts. Fast forward to 2011 and electronics have displaced a lot of those Christmas kids bikes. Thoughtful parents still buy their children a bike for Christmas. Just ask any child (or adult) who received a bike for Christmas, and they can still tell you the story about it. See if they can remember which electronic widget that they can name from one or two Christmas's ago??
1973: Seeing the opportunity to grow again, Richard and Marilyn bought an empty gas station corner at 100th Street & Lisbon Avenue for a new store. Richard was innovative in keeping the original structure and adding on to it to make a larger store than their other two locations. At the time there were abandoned gas stations all over the city. The end result was a great use for the property. The Emerys won an award from the city for their forward thinking. In retrospect, how ironic that today the world is looking to bikes to solve part of the energy crisis, and Emerys solved part of their bicycle problem with an old gas station. The gas crisis that year had people buying bicycles at a record pace. Road bikes were selling at a rapid rate, despite what we see now as terrible seats! Thank goodness todays seats are quite comfortable, and in shapes for everyone.
1975: Thought we had been doing basic bike fitting since we opened in 1963, Emerys made decision to start fitting all customers more technically. One reason for this switch was their son, Brent, started racing bicycles a couple years earlier. If a correct fit was important for him, then all riders should benefit from a great bike fit. Brent was intrigued bt the technical nature of the fitting end of the business. he began designing custom geometry for custom frames as needed for our elite customers. For all stock bikes, we began changing out bars/stems/seats as needed to complete a perfect fit for all customers. Customers quickly gave feedback that the extra time or cost to make these changes were well worth the effort.
1976: By this time, Emerys had condensed the other stores into their 100th & Lisbon Avenue location to focus all their energy into the best service they could.
1977: Emerys began advertising their son Brents' fitting services in local racing publications.
1978: After a peak in the bicycle business from a few year earlier subsided, and combined with the high inflation and interest rates of 1978, the economy was as rough on the bicycle business as any that year. It was very close to the point that the Emerys considered selling their home to save the business.
1979: A rough winter came and went, the economy improved some, the sun came out, and people started buying bicycles again. That previous year had shown the tenacity and dedication of the Emerys to their business. In late 1979, their son, Brent, accepted a spot at the Olympic Training Center in colorado Springs with the intent on making the 1980 Olympic cycling Team in the Kilo event. Read more on Brents racing carreer after our store history.
1980's: Mountain Bicycles are coming into their own. Emerys became one fo the first stores to carry dual suspension bikes in the midwest. Girvin dual suspension bikes were the best sellers. Girvin became Proflex, which eventually became K2.
1981: Brent designed one of the worlds first aero bikes with a sloping forward frameset, "bullhorn" handlebars, and smaller front wheels. Brent enlisted the help of custom framemaker John Stinsmen of Veloce Cycles in Allentown, Pennsylvania to build that first bike. Using blueprints Brent created, they got so excited about this project that they worked into the night with food and coffee being shuttled in to keep them going. The NEXT night, Brent raced that bike at the track in Trexlertown, PA. The first handlebar was not glorious. It was a 3 speed handlebar turned upside down and backwards, with a few loving bends to shape it. That bike was the impetus for the USA Cycling team to further develop into what were later dubbed the "Funny Bikes" used in the 1984 Olympics to set world and Olympic records.This bike was on display years later in the Milwaukee Public Museum's Wizard Wing.
1982: Richard brings on the Trek Bicycles line. We have built our Trek business to be consistently in their top 100 dealers in the USA for the past 20+ years.
1984: Brents achieves Olympic success with a Silver medal in Los Angeles. Read Brents story below.
1985: Brent comes back into the family business fulltime after a successful racing career racing in nearly 20 countries. Emerys was at the forefront of triathlon bikes locally, even though triathlon was so new that most dealers would not have tri bikes at all. After all, we understood them. Most brands were fashioned with features that Brent had a hand in making possible.
1987: Another major moment for Emerys. Upon hearing about a new innovation form the Scott company (Scott DH aero bars that were not yet on the market), Brent developed his own version of aero clip-on handlebars, one of the world first!. Initially he was interested in using them on his own bike for the single day 224 mile time trial from LaCrosse, Wi to Milwaukee, WI. They worked so well, he demonstrated them a few weeks later to the US Team during their warm-up at the Indy 500 track a few days before the Pan American Games TTT. That same year, Brent outfitted a few competitors with them for use in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. Naturally, bike fit positioning had to be different when outfitting our clients with aero bars for triathlon. We were one of the worlds first to create aero bars and we've been developing our skills for new school triathlon positioning ever since.
1989: Emerys expands again, this time opening a store on west Main Street in Menomonee Falls, with Ben Emery running that location initially with his father, then managing it overall. The fitness equipment sales and service side of our business was growing in large part, to Ben's efforts at that location.
1990's: Emerys expands our triathlon, road selection at our Milwaukee store. We expand our fitness equipment business with more products and knowledge. Never letting our recreational customers take a back seat, we've created a very interesting mix of product that caters to all cycling, triathlon and fitness groups. We incorporate Performance Bicycle Shop in Wisconsin. First, this a great name for our pro bike division, and second, we own that name in Wisconsin, so if any store from another state wants to operate under that name in Wisconsin, they have to talk to me first about how much it I'd sell that for, if I decide to sell it at all.
1993'ish: Marilyn Emery retires after doing the bookkeeping (and keeping the peace in the family business) since 1963. We can't imagine how this business would have survived without her hard work and patience.
1994: We move our Menomonee Falls store to a larger location on Appleton Avenue.
1995: Richard Emery retires, selling the business to his two sons. Much to the amazement of his family, retirement agrees with him. We all thought he'd be a bit uncertain about retirement as he had shown so much passion and dedication to the business. Good for him! He had been working since he was 9 years old. A couple successful labor intensive careers, a political carreer, comunity involvement, and a large family. Not bad for a baby of the depression that did not finish high school. He's one of the smartest people we (and a lot of other people) know.
1998: We start our emerys.com site. Oh, how we cringe looking back at our feeble first stab. If you're interested, click here to see it. We begin to offer FREE extended warranties and service with new bicycles, a real competitive advantage. With the world'a'changin', we reinforce our commitment to matching prices to keep our customers satisfied, this now means taking on internet competition. It will take a long time for us to get people to take us seriously on this, but slowly and surely, people are choosing to give us the opportunity to price match and buy from us.
1999: After 10 years of renting, Ben finds a suitable building for us to buy for our Menomonee Falls store. We move from Appleton Avenue to our current location on Main Street 2 blocks west of Hwy 45. We bring on Cervelo bicycles at our Milwaukee location, which will prove to be a great line for Emerys.
2000: The Y2K non scare. At least it made us take our computer system seriously.
2001: 9/11. Changed a lot of things for us and a lot of people. #1 was that it brought more people to pray and to appreciate our great country.
2002: Customers are now traveling from other states to work with Brent for technical fitting for road and triathlon. The 2002 Wisconsin Ironman Pro women's winner, Heather Gollnick, had spent a number of hours getting her position fine-tuned by Brent. Her results speak for highly for her and our services. A particular aspect of triathlon bike fit theory Brent worked on for a number of previous years has changed the triathlon concept of triathlon position to enhance the athlete's ability to run better after the bike leg. Nearly every triathlete Brent has fitted has immediately gone on to set personal records with better bike splits and also a faster run.
2003: Ben brings Landice treadmills to our business, which has become a mainstay of our fitness business.
2003: Paul Swift visited Emerys recently. Paul is the creator of "The Wedge", angled pieces to go between the cleat and the shoe for correcting foot angle. Paul has visited hundreds of shops promoting his product and doing fitting clinics. He was impressed with how we go about the fitting process and mentioned "you are one of the top 5 or 10 shops in North America for fitting". Most of our other factory reps say we are most certainly the best fitting store they are aware of in this part of the US. Our goal is to be #1.
2004: Heather Gollnick gets fitted on her new Q.R. Team bike with custom aero bars that Brent made exclusively for her. Heatherl goes on to blow away the field at Wildflower two weeks later. She credits Brent with being a part of the win! This same year, Heather was the first American finisher in Kona at the ironman world championships.
Over the years, the staff of Emerys two stores has done involved fittings for over 50,000 people. Continually searching for more precise ways to fit customers has led Brent to develop criteria for making those subjective decisions for varying the position for each customer. This is why you should buy you next bike at Emerys, and your friends should buy their next bike at Emerys, and their friends, and so on.... Call ahead, talk to our experienced staff. We can get the bike of your dreams built to you!
2005: Brent competes in Ironman Wisconsin.
2006: Emerys runs it's first Ironman party on the big hill Midtown Road during Ironman Wisconsin, a great event is born, growing every year.
2007: Brent races at the World Cycling Championships in Australia finishing 6th in three different events. We sell more "Best Buy" and top recommended bike and fitness brands than any local store.
2008: Our triathlon and fitness businesses have grown in importance that we give each their own 'branding'. Emerys Third Coast Triathlon Shops and Emerys Wisconsin Home Fitness are born. Though this is good marketing, we are still the Emerys, where great service reigns!
2009: Emerys Third Coast Tri Shops is the largest vendor at the USA's largest triathlon Expo, the Great lakes Multisport and Running Expo.
2010: We set our goals to bringing out our new website at year end with full e-commerce capability.
Over the years, the staff of Emerys two stores has done involved fittings for over 55,000 people. Continually searching for more precise ways to fit customers has led Brent to develop criteria for making those subjective decisions for varying the position for each customer. This is why you should buy you next bike at Emerys, and your friends should buy their next bike at Emerys, and their friends, and so on.... Call ahead, talk to Brent and we can get the bike of your dreams built to you!