Marvin Rosenberg recounts the moving of his bicycle shop from Lakeview to Coventry.
Mark Souther [00:00:01] Today's June 18, 2011. I'm Mark Souther and I'm doing an interview for the Coventry Reunion. Could you state your name for the record, please?
Marvin Rosenberg [00:00:10] Yeah, my name is Marvin Rosenberg.
Mark Souther [00:00:12] Let me back this up and start again because you were a little too close to the mic. Please state your name for the record.
Marvin Rosenberg [00:00:21] My name is Marvin Rosenberg, formerly of Pee Wee's Bike Shop.
Mark Souther [00:00:27] How long have you lived in Cleveland... the Cleveland area or Cleveland Heights?
Marvin Rosenberg [00:00:39] I'm trying to think. Probably, if I recall, probably back in the '40s, the early '40s.
Mark Souther [00:00:56] Were you associated with the Coventry area or did you live or work in the Coventry area that early or was that later?
Marvin Rosenberg [00:01:07] Well, if, boy, I was living in Cleveland Heights and then what I did is I opened up a bike shop on Lakeview. That's Lakeview and Tuscora. I worked at the bike shop there. And then I came up here to Cleveland Heights. The years, I don't remember, it was probably around the '50s. I...
Mark Souther [00:01:40] What brought you from... Because that would be the area, I guess, that would be Glenville, correct?
Marvin Rosenberg [00:01:45] Yes.
Mark Souther [00:01:47] What brought you up to Cleveland Heights?
Marvin Rosenberg [00:01:48] When... I came in with a partner who had a shop, a variety store, next to mine. And he was robbed and held up. I was also right and held up a few times, and we decided to get out of there. And there was an opening up over here on Mayfield near Coventry, and we went into partnership. And he was with me for about a couple, three years. Then he went out on his own and I stayed there for, I think, a year or two. Then I... the building was sold, I had to get out, so I moved up to Coventry, right on the corner of Coventry and Hampshire.
Mark Souther [00:02:31] And you had previously... This had been a variety store you mentioned before, and then you opened a bike shop, and do I have that correct?
Marvin Rosenberg [00:02:39] The gentleman who I went into partners, he owned a variety shop. And we we started with a bike and variety. Eventually the bike took over and we no longer had the variety shop. So that worked out very well. And then he went into the wholesale bicycle business and I stayed with it. I had the shop for a while again. And then I moved up to Coventry and Hampshire, and that's where I was for about 17 years.
Mark Souther [00:03:12] And just for the record, can you say the name of the store?
Marvin Rosenberg [00:03:15] I think it was called Coventry Cycle.
Unknown speaker [00:03:21] We knew it as Pee Wee's.
Marvin Rosenberg [00:03:22] Yeah.
Mark Souther [00:03:21] The reason I asked is that several people have referred to Pee Wee's Bike Shop and that they're just referring to it because...
Marvin Rosenberg [00:03:30] I think... I think my shop, Lakeview was called Pee Wee's Bike Shop.
Unknown speaker [00:03:36] Well, we all knew it as Pee Wee's.
Marvin Rosenberg [00:03:36] Right. Yeah. Yeah.
Mark Souther [00:03:40] What kind of bikes did you sell. What brands I mean?
Marvin Rosenberg [00:03:44] Well, I sold the Peugeot. I sold the Fuji. I sold the Bianchi. Oh my goodness. There was a lot of different ones. I sold a lot of Murray's. I sold a few Roadmasters. And I also went into an import business. I sold it a little motorbike.
Mark Souther [00:04:12] Can I get you to say that again? She was... You went into... Mike, can you close the door? Thanks, it's just noisy.
Marvin Rosenberg [00:04:29] Yeah, I went into the motorbike business. It was very, very, very, very good because you could be 14 years old and still ride around with a moped. So I got a hold of a franchise. It was called Solex. It was made in France. And I will import 'em from France. That's the one that had the engine on a front wheel. I don't know if you're familiar with it or not. Nice... And that was a wonderful machine. And, but then, again, the building was sold so I got out of it and then I moved to Coventry.
Mark Souther [00:05:14] Were most of the customers from right around in the neighborhood, or where was your client base, would you say?
Marvin Rosenberg [00:05:22] Well, what was happening is in the Lakeview area. they began to move out of the area. And I guess that was my following from Lakeview. They moved out. They moved into Cleveland Heights. And that was a lot of the following that I had. So...
Unknown speaker [00:05:42] Lakeview's in East Cleveland?
Marvin Rosenberg [00:05:42] What? Lakeview?
Unknown speaker [00:05:42] Yeah, Lakeview Road.
Marvin Rosenberg [00:05:45] Lakeview. No, that's in Cleveland.
Mark Souther [00:05:49] That's the Glenville neighborhood.
Marvin Rosenberg [00:05:51] That's the Glenville neighborhood.
Mark Souther [00:05:55] So you were you were out much before the Glenville riot because that was '68.
Marvin Rosenberg [00:05:59] I was not there. No, I was not there. Yeah.
Mark Souther [00:06:05] What were the businesses that were closest to yours? Right around you there at Hampshire, do you recall?
Marvin Rosenberg [00:06:12] The one on Hampshire when I... oh my goodness.
Mark Souther [00:06:14] Or there at the corner of Hampshire and... Just one second. We're leaving at 5:30... at 5:30, you close? Do we need to wrap up? I see. OK. That's OK. I'll let you finish that thought and then we can follow up another time if that's okay.
Marvin Rosenberg [00:06:37] You know, I can't remember all of the names, but there was a lot... There was a time when we were going through a bad time with Hell's Angels and a lot of drugs. It was not a good... It was not good for Coventry. I'm trying to think of some of the shops were, what they were basically selling was a lot of things that the drug people would use--earrings and bracelets and nose rings and all that other stuff. So it was not a good time for Coventry.
Mark Souther [00:07:20] Can I ask this just before we close? Did you then close the bike shop after 17 years, or did you move it somewhere else again?
Marvin Rosenberg [00:07:28] No. I had an opportunity to buy a small building in Lee and Superior by Cain Park, and I purchased a building and then I moved because I had the opportunity there to buy it. So I bought the building and I moved my bike shop from Hampshire. But I didn't quite move it. I sold it, I sold it to a fellow from Rochester, New York.
Unknown speaker [00:07:54] Andy.
Marvin Rosenberg [00:07:54] You remember him?
Unknown speaker [00:07:55] Mhm, sure, I used to go there.
Marvin Rosenberg [00:07:56] Yeah. He was wonderful. He knew bikes, he knew 'em. And he was there for about five years, six years. Then he shut it down.
Mark Souther [00:08:05] So there's no connection... Is it the same building where Cain Park Bicycle is or...
Marvin Rosenberg [00:08:09] That is... [crosstalk] That was my... That was my shop. I started it and then I got ill. And I just called it quits, and he bought it. That's the story.
Mark Souther [00:08:22] Thanks very much. We're going to have to stop sooner than I'd like.
Marvin Rosenberg [00:08:25] Okay.
Mark Souther [00:08:26] But thank you very much.
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"Marvin Rosenberg Interview, 18 June 2011" (2011). Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection. Interview 911065.