Long Beach, CA, January 20, 2010 – F.S. “Bicycle” Jones began selling bicycles and wheeled toys in Long Beach in 1910 at 6th and Long Beach Boulevard (then called American Avenue). In the 1930's, he moved his store to 16th and Long Beach Blvd. He was a hero to hundreds of boys and girls who delivered the Press Telegram during the Great Depression because they could buy a bike on time from Jones for as little as 50 cents down and 25 cents every payday. He managed to guide his business through the Great Depression, World War I and World War II. Frank Samuel Jones passed away in 1961 at the age of 77 years.
In 1959, Ben Lawee purchased Jones Bicycles, growing it from a single store into a multi-store chain in six years. He established the store located at 1628 Long Beach Blvd. Disillusioned by the lack of brand options available to retailers, he left retailing and began importing Bianchi and Legnano
Jones Bicycles in 1969 after adding skiing
Jones Bicycles in 1969 after adding skiing
In 1965, Robert Olson purchased the Long Beach Blvd location from Lawee, also growing from a single store to a multi-store chain. He added skiing equipment to his inventory to expand his business. However, he was not without hardship either.
He weathered major economic recessions in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. During the Los Angeles Riots in April, 1992, looters stole more than 700 bicycles from the Long Beach Blvd. store. After 82 years of retail presence on the Blvd., the store closed in July, 1992 unable to recover from the event. The iconic “Jones man” sign, battered and rusty, still looms over the building today. Olson continued to operate two remaining stores on Katella Avenue in Los Alamitos and on 2nd Street in Long Beach, eventually selling both stores in the early 90’s and retiring from the bicycle industry.
The remaining Jones Bicycles location at 5327 E 2nd Street continued to thrive, moving from a smaller location across the street to 5332 E. 2nd St., former location of Pat’s Ski and Sport – another Long Beach landmark. Olson sold the business to his employees, John and Lisa Genshock in 1994, a husband and wife team, eager to grow and expand the business, despite the global recession occurring at the time.
At the time their main competitor had secured the top bicycle brands, leaving the Genshocks no choice but to purchase less popular brands. They developed a strong affiliation with former Jones Bicycles owner, Ben Lawee and his value-oriented Univega brand. They also aligned with Giant Bicycles, now a desirable brand worldwide and the Genshock’s main bicycle line.
John possesses a unique talent for creating a retail environment that is comfortable, friendly and amusing. He understood that, in order to effectively compete, he had to expand inventory and utilize the unique mezzanine layout of the store to create a unique shopping experience. He is one of the first retailers on 2nd St. to utilize neon lighting for a modern look. He is the first bicycle retailer to install a four-story bicycle display rack. He has scoured antique stores for unique curiosities to add interest to the shopping experience., including eclectic bicycles, unique art, a drone missile, custom painted Porsche, a crane game and rotary game from the Long Beach Pike and fun odds and ends tucked in virtually every corner. He also knows how to purchase wisely and offer the very best deals to his customers; the best example is Jones Bicycles’ “Buy One Get One Free” sale which customers eagerly await each year.
Lisa’s talent is managing the administrative and financial part of the business. She is a self-taught bookkeeper and has built one of the best reputations in the industry for her company’s credit worthiness. Steadfast during hardship, she managed the financial recovery of the 2nd St. store after a devastating fire in 1997 that forced the
1995, they opened a second store in San Marino, California and in 1998, they began a successful Ebay business, selling difficult to find vintage bicycle parts and shipping them all over the world. The Lakewood store venture was unsuccessful and closed in 1999. John and Lisa deviated from their merchandising model of creating a store with character, and they learned a valuable lesson from it. The customers said it didn’t reflect Jones Bicycles’ unique identity and fun feeling.
In 2001, they expanded the 2nd St. store to include skateboards. Now, they boast one of the best selections of long boards in the Southland and a display of vintage decks that would be the envy of any collector. Their ability to react to trends quickly have allowed them to weather the 2000 recession and the current economic climate. Their latest venture is importing bicycle parts from Taiwan under their own brand name, F.U.B.A.R. They attribute their success to their teamwork, solid business relationships, and wiliness to try new ideas.