Scheller’s Fitness and Cycling was founded in 1979 during the height of the 70’s bicycle boom by Greg Scheller. Originally known as Okolona Schwinn Cyclery the store occupied a small building on Preston Highway in the Okolona area of Louisville, KY. Not long after, brother Tim joined the Louisville based business and a few years later the youngest, Marty joined too. Today, Greg, Tim and Marty are partners in the family business.
With a mix hard work, determination and great employees the company has grown from one small store on the south side of Louisville to six locations in Louisville and Lexington, KY and Clarksville and Evansville, IN. The brothers credit their traditional family values and upbringing as contributors to their success.
A Lifelong Love of Bicycles
It was helpful that all the boys started working in cycling stores at young ages. In their formative years they learned the skills necessary to work in a small family run retail business and continued to work in the cycling business thru their high school and college years.
In the early days the main business was selling cycling; the idea of a specialty fitness store didn’t really exist. Schwinn's Airdyne was the sum total of the fitness department at the store. It was around 1980 when a customer who attended the Cooper Clinic in Texas inquired about buying a Trotter treadmill he had used there. No local retailer sold the Trotter brand or any treadmills of that caliber. Greg chose to take on the brand and sold the first Trotter treadmill to that same customer. This was the real beginning of the fitness component at Scheller's.
Fitness Equipment Comes into the Mix
Since then the fitness trade has taken off to say the least. This epiphany of combining bikes and fitness became a retailing model that a number of entrepreneurs have attempted to duplicate.
Much attention was paid to the growing and expanding fitness business. The bike business remained steady and strong but sometimes played a supporting role to the expanding fitness trade.
After many years of success in both aspects of the business the family realized it was important to focus on both elements of the business: fitness and bikes. Today the company has a strong commitment to several prominent cycling events in the Louisville, Lexington and Clarksville communities and sponsors its own racing team: Scheller’s Racing. Scheller’s ranks as one of Trek Bicycle Company’s Top 50 Retailers nationally, a total list of well over 1000 stores.
Ownership and management has always been with the Scheller family, but stores have undergone some interesting name variances. With the opening of a store in 1983 in Middletown, KY the company now had a tandem identity: Okolona Schwinn Cyclery and Middletown Schwinn Cyclery.
To simplify matters from a marketing standpoint, a respected friend in the radio advertising business suggested the company adopt the family name as the business name: Scheller’s Schwinn & Fitness. Now the family name rather than locale would represent the "brand".
The 90's came to a close and the fitness side of the business grew and became and even more prominent part of the day-to-day business. Around the same time, the Schwinn Bicycle Company was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy which eventually came to pass in 2001. After a few too many condolences from customers and associates about what they thought was the impending demise of Scheller’s Schwinn & Fitness the family realized another name retool was in order.
Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling highlights what the brothers continue to believe is “the most important brand in our stores”: Scheller’s. It also more accurately portrayed the image of Scheller’s as supplier of commercial and residential fitness equipment as well as a seller of the finest bicycles around.
“By no means does this mean we value our fitness business over our cycling sales. The two are actually wonderful partners. The seasons are almost exactly out of sync with one another and cycling is one of the most enjoyable forms of fitness in which one can engage.”
Over the years Scheller's has enjoyed success in both the bicycle and fitness businesses. In the final analysis, the family knows to whom they ultimately owe their success: their customers.
"Our sincerest thanks go out to each person in the communities we serve. Your patronage has enabled our company to grow to what it is today.
At Scheller’s, our goal is not to sell you, but to serve you. It is through high quality service that we earn your business. We view you as guest in our home when you come to our stores. Please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can be of service.”