Dennis Hudson, a bicycle mechanic from Ohio, is to take ownership of C&O Bicycle of Western Maryland. He was the winner of an essay writing competition that Pamela and George Whetzel set to 'sell' their shop. Entrants submitted $250 as well as their essays.

Mechanic wins US bike shop lottery

Maryland’s The Herald-Mail reports there were nine entrants for winning the shop, which is located on a bike path in a town of 1700 people and has stock-at-valuation of $75 000.

Hudson, 40, wrote about a boyhood bicycle purchase.

He plans to move his family from Cleveland, Ohio to Hancock, a Western Maryland town on the Potomac river, and has handed in his notice at the Cleveland bike store where he worked.

The Whetzel’s announced the compitition in December last year. They will continue to own the building which houses the shop.

They wanted their shop taken over by an enthusiast, without the wherewithal to start out on their own.

Contestants had to pen essays on how owning the shop would change their lives and "be a dream come true."

George Whetzel told The Herald-Mail: "It’s keeping the dream alive is what we’re doing."


With my 40th birthday approaching, I decided to give myself the present of pursuing a lifelong dream.

One of my favorite childhood memories is of my late father taking me on an adventure to my very first bike shop. I passed the hundreds of bikes sitting on the front lawn of Pappy Jaye’s and entered into a child’s fantasy. As I walked over the creaky wooden floor and gazed at all the bikes, I remember how everyone was extremely friendly to me and made sure everything was perfect.

Driving by the old abandoned building brings me back to that day when I was treated like an important customer, instead of just a child. If I become the owner of C&O Bicycle, I hope to help children capture their own special memories like those that I cherish so much.

I have been in the bike industry for fifteen years, learning all aspects of the trade. Eventually, I began to have a burning desire to become an owner and reach the ultimate pinnacle of my career. I believe that I am fortunate to have worked at some wonderful shops and am able to take the knowledge and experience from each place to help me become a successful owner.

The key to owning a business is to treat people like royalty when they walk in the door. I believe that all customers are equally important and deserve quality service.

A shop should always be comfortable and welcoming. I enjoy the responsibility of educating each person based upon individual needs and providing him or her with the proper equipment. A main goal of mine is to focus on the family more than I have seen done at most stores. Fun trail rides along the canal and other planned activities would give families an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and would promote a fit and healthy lifestyle.

I would also continually organize special outings and events through schools and community groups to encourage cycling as a lifelong fitness activity.

C&O Bicycle is an intriguing place with many unique aspects. I love that it offers so much more than an ordinary bike shop.

This contest gives me the opportunity to do something that otherwise would remain just a dream. If I become owner, I can only hope that someday an adult remembers C&O Bicycle as part of a special childhood memory.

From: The Plain Dealer

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