WICHITA — A quarter of a century after opening the running specialty store First Gear, Gary Gregory is selling the Old Town business.
“I have the absolute best job in the world. I really do,” he says of selling sport shoes and apparel. “I’m just ready to do something different.”
Greg Reed of GW Investments, a communications company, is buying the business, which is at 111 N. Mosley. He’ll be partners with Raquel Stucky, who currently works there.
“She’s really the one that has a lot of experience in the business,” Reed says.
He says he likes the business and the industry and says feels “like there’s a lot of opportunity there.”
“I’m sure we’ll make some changes,” Reed says. However, all of the things customers have come to love at First Gear, “we’re going to continue to do.”
Gregory opened First Gear on North Rock Road in 1988 and moved to Old Town seven years later.
He says it was a difficult decision to move, but business doubled within the first year.
“I wasn’t getting west-side shoppers on Rock Road,” he says.
When he moved, he kept most of his east-side business and gained the west side as well.
“It turned out to be a very good move for us to be down here.”
So why is he selling?
“That’s a simple question that has a complicated answer,” Gregory says. “The bottom line is because it’s been 25 years, and I am ready to move on.”
He’s not sure what he’ll do next.
“In the short term, I’m just going to relax,” he says. “Being a business owner, you are always there even when you’re not there physically. You’re there mentally. I’m ready for the mental break more than anything.”
Gregory says he’ll now have more time for running, not to mention swimming, golfing and biking.
“I actually do have a little personal goal … to try to get really fit,” he says. “I don’t have time as an excuse anymore.”