The life-long passion that spawned The Shop began on the streets of Cincinnati, when a young Ernst Crown-Weber, disregarding any and all traffic lights, raced his older brother to school on his bike.
Like so many of us, Ernst fell victim to the distractions of modern life and 'growing up', forgetting the simple joy in movement that comes so easily in childhood... that is, until a college classmate asked him out on a bicycling date. Though that romance soon faded, Ernst's love affair with bikes was rekindled anew. To celebrate college graduation in 1977, Ernst and his friends undertook a "freedom ride" across the United States on the TransAmerica bike trail. Thus began Ernst's life as a dedicated cyclist.
After moving to Danville with his wife Kathy in 1982, Ernst honed his bike-repair expertise at Eddie's Cycle Center (Danville's first bike shop) before finally putting his Master's degree in Health Education to work in Lexington, where he worked for nearly a decade under Dr. Anderson at the University of Kentucky's renowned weight-loss clinic. Years spent in traffic commuting to Lexington to help people control their weight through exercise soon convinced him to promote weight-loss, active lifestyles and general health in his hometown by opening his own bike store.
Danville Bike and Fitness was founded in 1993. As Ernst put it: "I had no business plan, no business background. I had been told my passion wouldn't be enough. All I had was faith that dedication, sweat equity and the worthiness of the products and lifestyle I was promoting would see me through."
By offering bikes, exercise equipment and athletic clothing in the heart of downtown, Ernst soon fell in with a rough crowd: runners. The Gwinn Island Striders, a local running group, invited him to join them on a run and he's been running ever since (not literally, of course). Soon he added quality running shoes, accessories and personalized shoe fittings to The Shop's repertoire. By 2004, the Shop's name was changed to Danville Bike and Footwear to reflect a greater commitment to the sport.
When his sons started swimming, Ernst started selling swim supplies. Ernst's oldest son, Andrew, having inherited the family fitness fixation and completed several bike trips of his own, now works at the family business. Joining forces with his dear ol' dad on the eve of The Shop's 20th anniversary, Ernst and Andrew, father and son, are hard at work planning the next 20 years of family, fitness and fun.