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Goodbye to Launch Board Shop, Great Lakes Cycling

Marketplace Closings: May 2019

by Sabine Bickford

From the May, 2019 issue

Eighteen years after John Causland began selling skateboarding gear in the basement of his downtown shoe store, Launch Board Shop closed for good in March. Causland, who owns the Footprints store on S. Main, moved Launch to Packard and Platt two years ago, after it was booted from its South University location to provide a temporary home to Ulrich's while the bookstore's site was being redeveloped into ten-story student housing.

Causland expressed some concern in 2017 about both the move and the less skateboard-friendly location, but his staff, whom he often credited as the visionaries behind Launch, were hopeful. Causland was unavailable for comment, but a post on the shop's now-inactive Instagram--accompanied by a video clip of a lone bagpipe musician--is a fitting goodbye from one of his employees: "I want to personally thank anyone who has worked/managed/took care of that shop. Working there made me realize how much effort and passion goes into a shop."


"I think I'm done in the bicycle industry," says Oscar Bustos, owner of the now-closed Great Lakes Cycling at Stadium and Liberty. Bustos has been a bicycle mechanic for twenty-seven years--"most of my life"--and he's operated Great Lakes for the last twelve.

He moved the shop to the former Discount Tire building in 2014, but when he got an offer on the building this March from Wags to Wiskers' Dena Gilmore, he decided to use it as an opportunity to spend more time with his wife, Lindsay, and their three children. "I really enjoyed being a small business owner," he says. "but I missed out on a lot."

Bustos sold his inventory to a friend's store in Ohio, and he's directing customers to Sic Transit Cycles on Broadway. Great Lakes is the third Ann Arbor pro bicycle shop to close in three months, after Performance Bicycle and Midwest Bike & Tandem. Bustos says his own decision to close was personal, but "times have changed. I think every industry is struggling with online [competition]."

With a U-M degree in mechanical and electrical engineering, Bustos is looking at engineering jobs in the area. "We love Ann Arbor," he says. "We had a lot of fun, but in the end it's family that's the most important thing."     (end of article)

[Originally published in May, 2019.]


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