Midwest Cyclery riding strong for 60 years

  • Doug Jones, left, with his parents Tom and Helen Jones at Midwest Cyclery in Wheaton.

      Doug Jones, left, with his parents Tom and Helen Jones at Midwest Cyclery in Wheaton. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Doug Jones with an ebike with at Midwest Cyclery in Wheaton.

      Doug Jones with an ebike with at Midwest Cyclery in Wheaton. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

Updated 4/25/2018 8:59 AM

Not many people can say that they own the business where they worked when they were 16 years old.

This is the case for Doug Jones, who owns Midwest Cyclery in downtown Wheaton. The business on Front Street is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.


Jones says he did the college-work thing a little out of order. He worked at the cycle shop until he went away to college at Illinois State University. After the first semester, he returned home when he learned that the shop's founder, Al Wenzel, was selling the business.

Jones and his mom, Helen, took over ownership and Doug earned a business degree at nearby North Central College. Doug's father, Tom, was working for United Airlines at the time and several years later assisted at the shop part time.

The family said it is gratified the business has been around for six decades. "We are proud to be a part of historic downtown Wheaton and prouder still of the store's long tradition of service, reliability and value," said Doug, 59.

He said the biggest change he has seen over the years is an increase in competition. "So we have honed in on the things we're good at," he said. The service department is busy offering tuneups, fixing flats and making various repairs, he said.

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"It's important to us that we get people the right information and we offer an array of accessories," he said. Helmets, gloves, clothing, seat bags, shoes, pumps, mirrors and bells are some of the popular items.

Cannondale and Fuji are the two big bike brands they sell, he said. In addition, the shop has started selling E-bikes this past year, he said. "There is a lot of interest in them," Doug said. They are electric assisted bikes that are easier to ride than regular bikes and require less strength and endurance. The bikes, which require more regular maintenance, range from $1,400 to $2,800.

Doug said his family took over the business 38 years ago. When the shop first opened, it was called Western Tire and was on Hale Street in Wheaton. They then moved to West Front Street in 1965 and later changed the name to Midwest Auto & Bicycle Store.

When the Jones' took over, they changed the name to its current name and moved to its current location about 18 years ago. Doug, who enjoys cycling for exercise, said Wheaton encourages bike riding.


Comcast partners with Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs organization is teaming up with Comcast on a multiyear technology and marketing partnership that will provide Wi-Fi, video and voice services at Wrigley Field and the team's surrounding properties, including the Cubs' new front office at 1101 W. Waveland.

The agreement also makes Xfinity Mobile the Cubs' exclusive wireless partner. "First-class fans and an iconic ballpark like Wrigley Field absolutely deserve first-class technology," said Colin Faulkner, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Chicago Cubs. "By partnering with Comcast, we'll be able to deliver exciting new best-in-class media and technology experiences for every fan who comes into the ballpark and every visitor who enjoys our surrounding attractions for years to come."

Under terms of the agreement, Xfinity Mobile will become the team's exclusive wireless partner and Comcast Business will provide internet, video and voice service for the Cubs' new front office and will support game-day operations. Comcast eventually plans to provide exclusive in-game video services as well, including live game feeds and other content throughout Wrigley Field and the park.

More ice

Black Bear Sports Group Inc. acquired Southwest Ice Arena in Crestwood.

The Arena houses one NHL-size ice sheet, one smaller practice rink and the Pal's Corner Cafe. Black Bear also said the seller, Frank DiCristina, will join its operations team.

He has joined the company as vice president of operations and will oversee all four BBSG ice rinks in the Chicago area.

"We're thrilled to be investing in the strong hockey and skating community of southwest Chicago," said Murry Gunty, CEO of BBSG.

The Arena is the ninth ice rink purchased by BBSG.

Other ice rink holdings include Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge, American Heartland Ice Arena in Lincolnwood, Center Ice of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton, Maryland; Ice World in Abingdon, Maryland; Ice Land Skating Center in Hamilton Township, New Jersey; Jersey Shore Ice Arena in Wall Township, New Jersey and Printscape Arena at Southpointe in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

Black Bear Sports Group Inc. is a privately held company formed by Murry Gunty in 2015 that seeks investments in sports and entertainment facilities and youth sports events.

Lemon cake, please

Portillo's popular lemon cake is coming back as a seasonal item for six months.

Portillo's, known for its menu of Chicago-style favorites, will have the cake available through Sept. 10.

Like the signature chocolate cake, the two-layer yellow cake with lemon frosting is made daily in the stores.

The price for a slice varies by market, but Chicagoland locations will offer the lemon cake for $2.89 a piece, according to a company spokeswoman.

After being retired for over a decade, Lemon Cake made its return to Portillo's last year after a Reddit user put up a $300 bounty for anyone with information on how to obtain the cake recipe.

The cake became an overnight sensation for Portillo's; the brand sold more than 90,000 whole Lemon Cakes or 900,000 cake slices last summer and was featured on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

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