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Astoria biz cycles to success

By Cynthia Koons

He is a guy who worked part-time at a bike shop in college and got lucky.Karpathakis, the owner of the Bike Stop at 37-19 28th Ave. in Astoria, was helping manage another bike store in Astoria when the owner fell ill.So he took a semester off of college to run the store, much to his mother's chagrin.”My parents, after the six months, said 'you have to go back to school,'” he recalled. “(The owner) couldn't handle the store without me so he basically gave me the keys.”Karpathakis' shop, on the corner of 28th Avenue and 38th Street in Astoria, is not the one he originally owned. That store, now Tony's Bike Shop, is owned by his brother.Because he and his brother ran the other store successfully, Karpathakis decided about 15 years ago to create a store of his own.”That year we were looking, this place came on the market,” he said.At the time they were looking at the property, two other bike stores on Steinway Street and Broadway in Astoria closed.”That's when I saw the opportunity to open this,” he said.Karpathakis and his brother, both natives of Greece who grew up in Astoria, bought the store and adjacent apartments, which they rent out. Karpathakis runs the Bike Stop alone.His adult bicycles run from $120 to $2,000. Most shoppers, he said, spend about $250 for a bike. With any purchase of a bike, he promises two years of free tune-ups and adjustments.Most of his customers are from the neighborhood, he said, with the exception of a few Long Islanders and Manhattanites.Along with bikes he sells parts, sunglasses, lights, reflective gear, outfits, water bottles and children's bicycles.During the winter, when business slows, he helps the neighborhood by buying things like carbon monoxide detectors wholesale, which he was selling last Thursday.”I got them for myself so I got a few extra for the neighbors,” he said.A father of three sons, he does not know if one of them will take over his business. For now, he is encouraging his middle child to stay in school.”Even now I need one class for my education (degree),” he joked. “My mother still says I have to go back to finish, even though I make twice as much as a teacher.”Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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