A downtown business has a new owner and soon will have a new name.
Cleveland Bike & Sport, located at 415 W. Norfolk Ave., is being purchased by bicycle enthusiast Jason Tollefson, and its new name will reflect the age-old controversy over the pronunciation of the city’s name.
“I’m going to change it to Norfork Bike — like people say,” Tollefson said. “I’ll have a little bike fork in the logo.”
Tollefson has called the Norfolk community home off and on since the mid-1980s, when his family moved to the area after his father retired from the U.S. Navy in 1986. He went to college in Lincoln after high school. He later went to work for a Norfolk company and changed his residence back to Norfolk even though he was not a full-time resident until 2016.
His interest in biking began right after high school.
“I got a mountain bike the first year of college and rode my brother’s old bike,” Tollefson said. “That got me started, and I got my own once I did that.”
Tollefson said Ponca State Park was his “favorite playground.” The terrain there opened him up to the idea of trying mountain biking. He now has biked in places like Colorado and Utah and makes regular trips to Sedona, Arizona, for a winter biking excursion.
In his enthusiasm for biking, Tollefson got to know Nic Meyer, the shop manager at Cleveland Bike, as well as Nick Cleveland, the owner. When he found out the shop was going up for sale, the opportunity piqued his interest.
“It was an idea of mine,” he said. “I knew the original owner of Andrews Bicycle Shop — Jesse Vincent — but it was never timed right for me to jump in and be the shop owner.”
This time, the timing was right for Tollefson to purchase the Cleveland Bike & Sports business. Tollefson said he intends to see the business grow and cater to the variety of sporting interests customers around the area have, including winter sports and exercise equipment.
The business carries a range of bicycles, as well as bicycle accessories, clothing, parts and equipment. Tollefson said Meyer would help him with whatever tough mechanical questions may arise, and Cleveland is assisting with the business end, as well.
“They’re very graciously both helping me,” he said.
Tollefson said there may be a few minor alterations in store hours, but he’s encouraged by the outlook for the business, as well as the support the community has given thus far to the sport of biking.
“It’s all very encouraging,” he said. “There’s a great group of local riders, and the town has been supportive of the group that’s been growing around Norfolk.”