Local Bike Shop Offers Diverse Products and Comprehensive Repairs
Photographer / Jubilee Edgell
According to leading bicycle experts, there are between one and two billion bicycles in the world, and about 47,600 are sold daily. That’s about one bike every two seconds. Marlin Hochstetler, owner of Triple Oak Sales, contributes to that number as he sells and maintains bikes at his shop outside of Nappanee. For him, bicycles have always been a part of life.
“I’m Amish, so with my culture I grew up riding bikes,” Hochstetler says.
However, the inspiration for opening his own bike shop came from a store in Nappanee called Fox’s Bike Shop.
“As a small boy, I’d go with my dad uptown and he’d stop at this bike shop, and he’d buy parts to repair or maintenance his own bike at home,” Hochstetler says. “We had a bicycle stand, and tools and such to go with it. As him and old man Fox were talking, I would wander around the shop and always dream of having this kind of business on my own.”
That dream became a reality in 2018 when Hochstetler was given the opportunity to purchase a local bicycle business. He reopened it outside Nappanee and renamed it Triple Oak Sales, specializing in bicycle sales and service.
“This is a family business,” he says. “It’s myself and the boys. And my wife – she’s kind of my secretary.”
Hochstetler learned how to repair bikes from his father.
“He was a do-it-yourselfer,” Hochstetler says of his dad. “He taught us boys at home how to be mechanically minded and not be afraid to tear into things.”
Over time, Hochstetler became an expert in bicycle repair and maintenance.
“I do anything – I will change tires, fix flats, fix broken chains, and I’ll true wheels,” he says. “I’ll replace bearings in wheels. I’ll do complete overhauls. I’ll help you try to customize your bicycle to fit your needs.”
Repairs is one of Hochstetler’s favorite parts of his bike business, especially when a job is particularly challenging.
“A person brings it into the shop and says, ‘I’ve taken this bike to numerous different shops and it hasn’t worked right since, and it doesn’t ride well,’” he says. “And then they take it out for a ride after I’m done with it and I can see in their eyes and hear it in their voice that they’re well pleased. That’s worth more to me than the little paycheck that I get. I want to do the best I can with my God-given abilities to do a service to the community, and I guess make a small living while I’m at it.”
Along with maintenance and repairs, Triple Oak Sales offers a wide variety of parts, gear and accessories. The business is also known for its quality bicycles. Customers can find road, mountain, comfort, child-sized and even electric bikes.
As he looks toward the future, Hochstetler hopes to eventually work full-time at the bike shop. He also expects that bicycle culture will change dramatically with the introduction of the electric bike into the market. One aspect of the business that he hopes will remain is the ability to interact with customers.
“The most important thing I enjoy about the business is getting to know the people,” Hochstetler says. “If they want to stop and talk, great. I don’t mind if people just want to sit here and talk. I have time for that. If some people want to have their bicycle fixed, I’ll do that too.”
Triple Oak Sales is located at 7134 W. 1300 North in Nappanee. For more info, visit tripleoaksales.com or call 574-354-1632.