This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Shopping at Superior Sales and Service

I mentioned a few posts ago that Superior Sales and Service on Vine Street had new owners. Several days ago I stopped by to pick up a bike wheel that I had left there to be repaired and I took the time to find out more.
The new owners are Blake Carter and Mike White. The business will remain as it has been, with bike sales and service an important part of the mix. They had a large selection of bikes on display and more waiting to be unpacked. (It is probably not the best time of the year for bike sales. Most people do not have my attitude about riding bikes--every day is a good day to ride a bike unless there are six inches of snow on the roads.)
The store sells also sells paint, paint supplies, and Toro lawn equipment.
A final part of the business mix is tool rental. Behind the shop is a row of small building with a variety of construction equipment for rent. About half the renters are contractors who find it cheaper to rent equipment that they use infrequently rather than buy it. The other half is do-it-yourself homeowners. 
When I came to Rensselaer, this store was Brusnahans. Back then the only brand of bike it sold was Schwinn. At the time most bicycles sold in the U.S were made in the U.S. and Schwinn was recognized as the top brand of consumer bikes. I think Schwinn was one of those family-owned businesses in which the sons did not have the talent of the father, and they were not able to keep the company on top of the bike world.

In its early days Brusnahan big business was selling coal. There was a time in which coal was the heating source for most homes, and that coal was delivered by the railroad, which explains why the business is where it is, next to the CSX tracks. In older homes you can sometimes still see reminders of that era--a few still have coal chute doors, and in basements you can find traces of the coal bins. The buildings shown above were built on the foundation of the coal storage structure.

Below is a peek inside one of the buildings. You can see a machine for smoothing concrete and tanks of oxygen used for welding as well as other things that I cannot identify.
I had to ask if they had two-man augers, and they said that they did. My son recently rented one in Indianapolis, and I got to be the second man. Digging post holes was much more work than I expected it to be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I did not know about the new owners of Superior Sales and Service. Thanks for the news.