Cycle of success: Chalmette Bicycle celebrates 50 yearsApr 5th, 2013 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: Top Story
It’s often said that doing business with family is a risky move, but the Ybarzabals wouldn’t have it any other way. The store was honored on April 1 by the St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce and Parish Government for half a century of selling bicycles and lawn mowers to locals.
“We grew up here, we raised our kids here,” said Kathy Serpas Ziegler fondly. “All the grandkids come
here, the older boys work here over the summer— it’s really a family thing.”
In 1963, Kathy’s grandparents William and Annie Ybarzabal opened up the original Chalmette Bicycle
store, which neighbored the current building on St. Bernard Hwy. until Hurricane Katrina.
“My dad used to do bike marathons, and he actually qualified for the Olympics in Germany ,” explained Willie Ybarzabal Jr. “But my mother got pregnant with me, so he ended up staying behind.”
Over the years, William never lost his love of bicycles and worked in local shops until he finally had
the means to start his own bicycle business. Early on, all of the Ybarzabal children had a hand in working at the family business and learning the tricks of the trade.
“My aunt Pat has been here since out of High School,” said Kathy Ziegler. “I still remember sitting at
the shop and him spinning the wheels showing me how to tell the spokes all were lined up. He really loved showing us how to do that.”
After their parents passed away in the early 1990s, the Ybarzabal children made the decision to take the helm and keep their parent’s legacy going full speed.
“Mom died in 1989, and dad died in 1991 and just we rolled right into it,” said Catherine Ybarzabal Serpas.
When Hurricane Katrina left the parish in shambles and scattered many residents and longtime
customers of Chalmette Bicycle Store around the state, the Ybarzabal’s chose to keep the family
“We came back after Katrina because we felt like we had a service to offer St. Bernard, and if they weren’t family when they came in, they were when they left,” explained Catherine Ybarzabal Serpas. “I know a lot went to the Northshore, or Baton Rouge or where ever but we felt like our heart was here.”
Chalmette Bicycle specializes in adult and children’s bicycles, bicycle parts as well as lawnmower parts and repair. Until May 31, the store is encouraging patrons to sign up for a free raffle where the
winner can take home a bicycle, a lawnmower or a blower. Three winners will be chosen in early June.