The Shop Relocates to South Milwaukee

September 1, 2016

By Katherine Keller

After a 12-year stint at the Hide House in Bay View, Tim Schneider has moved his motorcycle repair business to South Milwaukee. He opened for business at the new location in the last week of August.

His business, The Shop, specializes in repairing and rebuilding Japanese and European motorcycles, including vintage models. When he began, he only accepted non-American bikes because he saw there was a niche in the local market. Since then, he’s expanded and now accepts American-made bikes but only those made in 1930s and years prior.

Schneider is independent, not tied to any bike manufacturer.

He opened his business in 1999 on Land Place near Brady Street and moved to the Hide House in January 2003.

Schneider purchased the 5,000-square-foot building located at 1905 13th Avenue. He said he’d been looking for a new location “pretty aggressively for the past two years, or so.”

He was motivated by a desire to invest in a building because of the long-term financial security it offered him, now and in retirement.

He purchased the property from Charles Wink, who operated CJ’s Auto Works in the building since 1973 or 1974, according to Wink’s son Charlie. He said that Charles himself purchased the building from his grandfather who had operated a small foundry in the building that dates from the 1920s.

“The Hide House property is great and it was well-suited at first, but it’s divided into so many sections and laid out awkwardly. The owner (Sig Strautmanis/General Capital Group) and the rest are great and they always helped me out but I had to start thinking about long-term security. They knew I was looking for a building.” Owning the building provided him with that and secured what he said is a business that keeps growing and thriving.

Schneider will occupy the majority of the building, 4,000 square feet. The existing tenant operates an auto body business and will remain in the building. “The financing went through very quickly,” said Schneider. His offer was buoyed by the income generated by the section of the building that is leased. “The tenant basically paid the mortgage,” he said.

Schneider said his bank required a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment audit to identify potential liability such as an underground fuel storage tank or contaminated soil. The audit cleared the way for financing. “It came up clean,” Schneider said. “It was on the market for quite a long time. I got a good deal.”

He spent three months cleaning and prepping the nearly 100-year-old brick building.  “It was cheap and it was a dump. The building was really solid. It just needed a little TLC. Sweat equity, that’s the keyword here,” he said.

The new location permitted Schneider to expand his retail operation that he is set up on the second floor above his shop. At the Hide House, his retail inventory was limited. He sold oil filters and batteries and similar items, but he’s adding apparel to the retail line to include jackets, helmets, and gloves.

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