Sunday May 28th, 2017 will be the final day of employment at River City Bicycles for Matt Karre. Matt has been with us for over 11 years, in recent years as our GM, and is a fixture in our store and the cycling community. We would be terribly sad to see this day come if not for the fact that we are happy to know he is off on an adventure near and dear to us – he’ll be running his own bike shop. Matt will, along with his wife Amy, take over the ownership and direction of Fairhaven Bicycles in Bellingham, Washington. It’s a fantastic store, open since 1971, and with Matt and Amy it will be that much better. Dave Guettler, River City Bicycles founder & owner, shares a few words as we head into Matt’s final weekend.
I remember when Matt came in to drop off a resume in June 2006. I have been involved in running bike stores for 35 years and I had never been so sure of a job candidate’s potential for success, before or since. A sure thing, if there ever was one.
For those of who have known Matt as a customer, or raced against him, or for those lucky enough to work alongside him, pretty much everyone says the same thing about him- he just does it right. He communicates at the level you are comfortable with and he works with an extremely high level of integrity. He is always hustling, working hard, looking like is isn’t hurrying or rushed, but getting a ton done. He has set the high water mark for sales, in quantity and quality, literally from the first month he was here until his last.
One of the greatest compliments a bike shop employee can say about a co-worker is that they would buy a bike from them. This means that they believe their co-worker is knowledgeable, they have the skill to listen, and the technical expertise to apply what they know to what the customer needs. Matt is that kind of guy more than anyone here and I have heard “somewhat” hard-to-please staff members say exactly those words.
Matt has an effortless way of riding a bike. He never looks like he is trying hard but he has been known as one of, if not THE BEST hill climber in the Portland area. A few years ago he won the Larch Mountain Hill Climb Time Trial by over a minute on second place; he averaged 17.5 MPH over the 14-mile climb. Do me a favor- the next time you come up to a hill, try accelerating to 17 MPH, and see how long you can hold it for. Now, try looking relaxed and casual but with a faint, impish smile while pedaling like that. Cool as a cucumber, this guy.
One of my prized possessions is something he gave me, a Strava message he received saying that I had taken one of his KOMs. No doubt, though, one that he likely hadn’t been trying all that hard to achieve. I will really miss Matt on both a personal and professional level. There is no doubt in my mind that his store will be wildly successful and I’m really glad it isn’t in Portland.
Thank you, Matt, your River City Bicycles family misses you already but we wish the very best and hope to see you soon.