Jasper Young’s earliest memories of Young’s Bicycle Shop - his family’s business - include the mechanics picking him up and pretending to throw him in the dumpster. He grew up at the iconic shop on Broad Street, which has been in business since 1931.
And this week, Jasper became the new owner of Young’s Bicycle Shop, taking the torch from his father Harvey Young who had run the business for the past three decades.
“I want to continue to share that legacy,” Jasper said on Friday. “It’s all about relationships - visitors and residents. Spreading joy on Broad Street, that’s a pretty great thing we get to do.”
For Harvey Young, signing over the business to his son before stepping away from the shop he had run for 30 years and knowing that it will stay in the family was more than gratifying.
“It’s hard to put in words how special it is,” Harvey Young said on Friday. “As young children, both Jasper and Emma, growing up on Nantucket, everyone was in their face from the moment they could talk, ‘are you going to take over the bike shop?’ That’s a lot to put on a young person. I’m pleased that both of my kids went out into the world and experienced places besides Nantucket and also put a lot of time in here. It’s pretty awesome. We talked about it quite a bit: ‘are you sure you want to do this?’ The pandemic was a nice segue for me, and he had moved up to be a general manager, and took the reins and ran the place. It was pretty clear to see that he could do it.”
Jasper Young first started working at the bicycle shop at 12-years-old, learning the ropes of a seasonal business at one of the busiest locations on the island every summer. But as his father alluded to, the constant questions about whether he would eventually take over the shop initially soured him on the prospect of doing so.
“I remember being a little resistant to it, because everyone expected me to do it,” Jasper said. “I went out west to try to see what else was out there, and spent some time working in schools as a first and third-grade teacher. I found a beautiful small coastal community in northern California and it helped me put things in perspective. I said ‘wow, I want to live in a small community where you know your neighbors’ and that solidified to me that I already had that community here, and an opportunity to live here. It helped me to see the light and realize this is a pretty great opportunity to be part of a legacy.”
Jasper said the example his father Harvey set - as a boss, a mentor, and a businessman - showed him how to be successful on Nantucket, and carry on the legacy of Young’s Bicycle Shop. While Jasper intends to modernize some of the aspects of the business - such as upgrading from the old punch-in time cards for staff - to help the shop become more efficient, it’s the lessons from his father Harvey that will keep the traditions of Young’s Bicycle Shop alive.
“I’ve learned so much from my dad, and a lot of it has to do with his attitude and the way he uses his positivity to get people on his side,” Jasper said. “Sometimes we joke that he acts as a quasi therapist down here on the Strip, listening to peoples' concerns and being empathic. His positive attitude and the way he cares about and values nature has impacted me a lot.”