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Business & Economy

Chapel Hill's Performance Bicycle Faces Bankruptcy

Bicycle on American Tobacco Trail greenway, bike path,
Laura Candler

Any cyclist, especially in the Triangle, knows Performance Bicycle. The Chapel Hill-based company was geared toward the riders who weren't too serious, but didn't want to shop at a big box store or online.

But even in a good economy, Performance couldn't make it.

Spokeswoman Karen Bliss says normal business factors and online competition played a role. So did geopolitics.

"There's tariffs coming from goods from China and pretty much every bike company has their bikes produced in China or Taiwan," Bliss said.

Performance Bicycle was acquired two years ago, and kept its local headquarters. It is by far the biggest bicycle retailer with more than 100 stores nationwide.

Bliss says she hopes this is just a bump in the road, not the end of it.

"People are still riding bikes, people love bikes, that's just not going away,” she said. “Once we figure it out, and believe me there are many people trying, I think we'll be just fine.”

Auction bids will be opened tomorrow. A bankruptcy judge will hear the case next week.

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