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Updated: April 15, 2024

Bar Harbor bike shop and property change hands after 45 years

3 people in front of shop with sign Courtesy / Joe Minutolo From left, new owner Peter York and brothers Joe and Al Minutolo outside the Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop

Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop, which dates to 1978 and has been under the same ownership for 45 years, has traded hands in two separate transactions.

Brothers Joe and Al Minutolo sold the business itself to long-time customers Peter and Jill York.

They sold the real estate at 141 Cottage St. to College of the Atlantic, for $3.2 million. 

The real estate part of the deal includes the bike shop space, five apartments and two storage units. The college will use the apartments to provide housing for faculty and staff, a high-priority need, COA’s president, Darron Collins, told Mainebiz. 

The property was marketed as a prime location on a corner lot that benefits from high visibility and accessibility. The two-story building dates to 1894 and was renovated in 1992.

The brothers listed the property last fall. 

“There was s lot of interest really quick,” Joe Minutolo told Mainebiz.

Splitting the deal

The bike shop started out in the corner building and eventually expanded into abutting properties. It’s a bustling spot in the summer with tourists aiming to rent bikes and explore Acadia National Park, which lies just a couple of blocks away.

Minutolo said he and his brother had been talking about selling the business for a while, but wanted to make sure that whoever bought it would keep the bike shop going.

blurry photo of 4 people outside of shop
Courtesy / Joe Minutolo
Joe and Al Minutolo started the shop in 1978.

Splitting the deal into a real estate and a business sale made it viable for both buyers, he said.

The Yorks have been customers for many years and have family roots in the area.

“It’s a changing of the guard but I think it was a cool changing of the guard and something I think the community will be happy with,” said Peter York. 

College of the Atlantic, which now owns the building that the bike shop is in, plans to enter a long-term lease with the Yorks. “That bike shop has been the heart of this community in many ways,” said Collins.

COA housing

The deal will help College of the Atlantic meet its housing needs for faculty and staff.

The two storage units can potentially be converted for use as apartments with further investment, he said. There’s no budget estimate or timeframe yet for the conversion — “but as soon as possible,” Collins said.

The deal was financed through unrestricted funds in the college's endowment. COA was represented in the transaction by Susan Ferrante-Collier at the Knowles Co.

The five apartments don’t need any improvements. Current tenants occupy three units and COA will honor those leases. Two other units are move-in-ready. The plan is to offer them to two of the three new faculty members due to arrive on campus this September.

building with door open and sign
Photo / Ezra Schreiber-MacQuaid
The Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop is a staple of the community, from locals to visitors to competitive cyclists alike.

The housing shortage is nothing to sneeze at.

“It is a real challenge,” said Collins. “We face the question with every hire that we make, when we’re hiring people from beyond commuting distance.”

The challenge, he said, goes to ensuring College of the Atlantic remains competitive with other educational institutions in Maine and New England.

“If we want to continue to attract outstanding faculty and staff members, we knew we couldn’t leave housing to chance,” he said.

Bike shop continuation

Peter York grew up in southern Maine and has family roots in Bar Harbor going back three generations. 

“So I spent lot of time as a kid in Bar Harbor,” he said.

He moved to the Midwest and took up a career in banking, living between Chicago and New York. He started bringing his wife Jill, a schoolteacher, to Maine and found that she loved it, too. The couple bought a house on Mount Desert Island in 2006 and have been summer residents since then, coming to the island for whole summers. 

2 people standing in front of brick wall and flowers
Courtesy / The York Family
Jill and Peter York bought the bike shop business.

As a pretty passionate cyclist and competitive triathlete, he’s often riding and running in the community. The rest of his family is outdoorsy, too.

“So we naturally came to have a relationship with the bike shop,” he said. “I got to know Joe pretty soon after we moved here.”

When York retired, he wondered what else he and Jill might want do.

“We started splitting our time between Maine and the Midwest,” he said. “We always thought about a business, something interesting to own in Bar Harbor.”

Then the opportunity to buy the shop came up.

“It was kind of magical,” York said. “We love the town and we like cycling and other outdoors activities. So we thought this could be interesting.”

The Yorks will be at their MDI home most of the year. They’ve hired two managers and retained a core group of existing employees. 

“So we’ve got continuity there,” he said. “And we’ll both be in the shop most days when we’re in Maine.”

The shop is open year-round.

“Having the bike shop continue was very important for the cycling community and the community at large,” said York. “It’s a staple of the community. Clearly Joe and Al felt that their legacy should continue and I share that view pretty passionately.”

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