The Roots of South Side Cyclery were planted about 1932-33 when young Velmo “Chap” Chappuis and a friend opened a small bicycle shop on Grand and Meramec in South St. Louis. After only a year, Chap was able to buy out his partner, and began his rise as one of the most respected dealers in the St. Louis area. In the years after the Great Depression he struggled to build his small business, and soon opened a satellite in Carondelet Park to rent bikes on weekends. As he prospered, he and his new wife, Gen, moved the store to 3137 Meramec in January, 1939, then on to a much larger space at 3141-43 Meramec in 1942. Besides retail and repair, he offered repainted and updated secondhand bicycles to keep the business going during the tight economy of the war years.
For 20 years the Meramec Cycle Co. flourished as a solid member of the South St. Louis business community. In 1962 another growth spurt took place when Chap and Gen bought A.H. Harwell Co., and added wholesale capabilities to their retail business, which then became South Side Cyclery. As the economy changed, a great bicycle boom began, and about 1971 the business was again moved to larger quarters at 6925 GravoisOver the years Chap had had many members of the family working in the store with him – father, brothers, wife, daughter, son, brother-in-law, and finally, nephew Henry “Bud” Blackwood and his wife Mary plus their sons, Bob and Tony. When Chap decided to retire in 1976 after 45 years in business, Bud was ready, willing and able to take over the reins.
MERAMEC CYCLE CO. 3141 Meramec St., St. Louis, MO. Owned by V.J. Chappuis, this is one of the oldest bicycle stores in the St. Louis area, started in 1933. Meramec sells Schwinn and Raleigh bikes and does a good repair business. The store is exceptionally large and the owner has equipped himself with a spray room and a very extensive repair shop in the rear. Mr. Chappuis owns the building and rents the upper floors.
American Bicyclist and Motorist | Discussing the prominence of St. Louis as a national center for cycling activity.