By Burton Speakman
While other motor- cycle shops in the Mahoning Valley have come and gone, Youngstown Cycle Supply has been able to stay in business through a combination of hard work and loyal customers, the company’s owner says.
This industry has always been hard on the little guys who have to deal with the big companies in the industry, said Jim Nadasky, owner of Youngstown Cycle Supply. Despite its lack of affiliation with a motorcycle brand, YCS is celebrating 45 years in business this year.
The store remains busy as customers continually come through the door and the phone rings consistently, even on a Friday afternoon. Part of the YCS appeal is that it doesn’t focus on any brand of motorcycle, Nadasky said.
“Everybody feels comfortable coming here. A Yamaha or Honda rider would never go into a Harley shop,” he said.
YCS wasn’t always brand-neutral. When the store opened, it carried Norton, a British company motorcycle. It was opened by Gary Kenney in 1968 at 2210 Market St.
Nadasky came home March 7, 1969, after four years in the Air Force. Nadasky and Kenney had talked about opening a motorcycle shop together while Nadasky was in the Air Force.
But the day after Nadasky came home, Kenney was admitted to St. Elizabeth Hospital and died six weeks later, succumbing to Hodgkin’s disease. Jim Nadasky and his brother, Tom, purchased YCS, with Jim taking complete ownership two years later, according to the company’s history on the Youngstown Cycle Supply website. The business moved to its Boardman location at 6915 Market St. in 2006.
The store sells a few motorcycles on consignment, but most of its sales are for parts, helmets, tires or clothing, Nadasky said.
“The anniversary didn’t really hit me until this year,” he said. “You come to work every day, and you don’t even think about it.”
Nadasky started riding a moped when he was young, and his first motorcycle was a 1952 Triumph that he customized in his basement, he said.
People love riding motorcycles because of the freedom it provides and the camaraderie shared with other enthusiasts, Nadasky said.
“Motorcycle riders can just sit down and have a conversation with someone they’ve never met,” Nadasky said.
Nadasky’s love of motorcycles has extended throughout his family with his daughter, Megan Stevens, serving as the company’s vice president. Stevens’ 3-year-old son, Marek, rides around the store on a Fisher-Price Harley-Davidson tricycle.
Marek already has developed an affinity for two-wheeled transportation as well. Stevents said her son is saving money to buy his own red bicycle.
“He’s almost there. Customers will give him a little bit of money because they know he’s saving for a bike,” Stevens said. “But he has to do a chore for it. He might help them with their receipt or something else.”
Stevens said she grew up in the shop spending a lot of time with her father.
“Not everyone is lucky enough to get a chance to learn the industry from someone with as much experience as my father,” she said.
Over the next few years and even decades, she envisions the store continuing to grow, Stevens said.
The hope is over the next few years the shop will be able to transition into more “green” products with electric motorcycles and scooters, she said.
Jim Stacey of East Liverpool said he has been a YCS customer since the 1980s.
He’s working with Nadasky and Stevens to build a motorcycle “from the ground up.” He came to the store to pick up wheels. Stevens had helped him to pick the custom color.
“They’re knowledgeable and great with prices. I trust them with anything I have,” Stacey said. “They never get it wrong. They never have any attitude, and they’re great to deal with.”
There are YCS shirts all over the country, and the store has developed a following outside of the area, Nadasky said.
Truck drivers will come in and say they saw one in Boston or someplace like that, he said.
“One of my favorite stories was from a guy who said he was at a bar in Denver and saw someone with the YCS shirt across the bar. He was from Youngstown and walked across the bar and bought it from the guy,” Nadasky said.
“We’ve always worked to make the store a destination [location],” he said.