Nicholson to close business before taking over as mayor


While the plan was always in place during the election cycle, saying the words out loud never got any easier.

Matthew Nicholson knew he would have to close B2 Bikes and Boards if elected as mayor of Seymour, but he didn’t tell anyone the arrangements until the polls closed.

The Republican won the vote earlier this month, and now, after 16 years of business, Nicholson has announced the bike and skate shop will close Dec. 28.

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“I knew going in that it would have to be the next step if elected. I accepted it,” Nicholson said. “To me, it had to be done. The hardest part was probably not talking about that piece at all during the election cycle. The answer was always that we had a plan and would announce it after the election if we needed to. That was tough for me.”

Nicholson has worked in the biking and skateboarding industry for the past 26 years.

“The 10 years before opening (B2 in 2003), I worked for Biker’s World here in town,” Nicholson said. “I started out assembling bikes. I got my start there because I caught two guys trying to steal a bike one night while I was in there trying to buy an inner tube. I got a phone call the next day from the owner saying that if I wanted a job to come see him.

“I built bikes and did whatever they needed. I was racing BMX at that time and eventually took over as head mechanic and manager. When I left Biker’s World, I was doing all the orders and the nitty-gritty.”

Nicholson worked at Biker’s World until opening B2 in 2003 in the Jackson Park Shopping Center.

He got the keys Feb. 14 and started remodeling the building before opening doors Feb. 28.

While stripping carpet, painting floors and assembling displays, Seymour’s Wayne Gallapoo stopped in and placed the first order for the store. Gallapoo ordered a KHS road bike, which has racked up more than 100,000 miles to this day.

“I would go in there every day,” Gallapoo, 54, said. “I worked third shift and would go in there after picking up my kids and sometimes Matt’s kids from school. We would sit around and talk like old men in a barber shop. You could always go in there and hang out. His family was fantastic. He had a typical small-town business.”

Nicholson’s business grew from there.

“When we opened in 2003, we kept 75 to 100 bikes on the floor at all times,” Nicholson said. “We moved two years later to a bigger space at Jackson Park, and at that time, we had 125 to 175 bikes at a time depending on the time of year.”

Since 2009, Nicholson has operated out of his building at 330 S. Chestnut St.

Seymour native Dustin McCreery, 28, of Cable, Wisconsin, said he has known Nicholson and his family for 15 years. He said he would frequent the shop, often spending his time after school at B2.

“I lived within sight of his storefront and was there nearly every day for years,” McCreery said. “Matt sponsored four or so Seymour skateboarders at a time who he felt could encourage the next generation into positive behavior. I was sponsored by Matt at 15 years old along with some of my best friends.”

McCreery said Nicholson offered much more than skating accessories at B2.

“He offered inspiration to get good grades and remain positive role models, as these were prerequisites to be sponsored,” he said. “To my 13-year-old self, Matt offered a space that wasn’t common in a lot of us skateboarders and bikers didn’t have at home: A healthy perspective. B2 was local and family-oriented, inclusive and not judgmental, although he challenged our teenage stubbornness. Matt had ‘made it’ in my eyes. I still am inspired by Matt.”

Seymour’s Jace Walter, 27, echoed McCreery.

“I will always remember B2 as our safe haven, a place where we grew up and somewhere no matter what, we are always welcome,” Walter said. “I still can walk into B2 to this day and sit and talk to Matt like I always could. Matt has always been there for us, and I have a lot of love for him and his family.”

Brandon Swaney, 31, was 8 when he received his first skateboard from B2.

“(Nicholson) is still the big brother I never had growing up,” Swaney said. “My fondest memory of the shop was watching Matt and Zabrina grow their family. Jozie was 2 or 3 when the shop opened, I believe. I played with them and watched as they grew. It was a pleasure and showed me how a family is supposed to work.”

Swaney said he will remember B2 for being his home away from home.

“I could always count on Matt making sure us kids had guidance and a respectable opinion on anything we needed it for,” he said. “A lot of times, if we needed a meal or anything, he helped with that, as well. It’s bittersweet seeing it shut down, but he is going to make the city better, so I understand it.”

Over the years, Nicholson stayed involved in the community through his business.

On top of hosting and sponsoring a plethora of events, Nicholson has been instrumental in helping get bike lanes throughout Seymour as well as the development of a skate park.

Nicholson hosted a time trial series for years and also has a scholarship he gives to a student each spring. He said he plans on continuing to have the scholarship, but another organization will likely be in charge of it.

Nicholson said he will be taking orders until about two weeks before Dec. 28 and will be doing repairs until the closing date. He said he plans on having the store open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 28 for its final day.

While the process of closing has been tough, Nicholson said he’s excited for his new role in the community.{div class=”l9j0dhe7”}{div class=”g5ia77u1 ii04i59q” data-testid=”messenger_incoming_text_row”}{div class=”l60d2q6s d1544ag0 sj5x9vvc tw6a2znq l9j0dhe7 ni8dbmo4 stjgntxs qlfml3jp inkptoze e72ty7fz qmr60zad jm1wdb64 qv66sw1b ljqsnud1 g6srhlxm”}{div class=”oo9gr5id”}He said he’s grateful to have been in business for so long.{/div}{div class=”oo9gr5id”}“We wanted to make a living and survive, but more than that, we wanted to provide the community with a destination,” Nicholson said. “You’ll find a lot of kids have a lot of memories of hanging out, and whether they realized it or not, learning along the way. That has always been one of the things I’m proudest of — making an impact on the community.”{/div}{/div}{/div}{/div}

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