Pete's Garage Coming to Broadway

Bollier, Jeff. Green Bay Press-Gazette, November 20, 2015.

Kurt and Tyson Schwiesow consider their great grandfather, Pete Lorenzen, the Paul Bunyan of their family.

He came to the United States from Europe with a suitcase and a sausage. He was part of the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1893. He joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show for a time. He opened a Harley-Davidson motorcycle garage in the 1910s in Chicago. He lived to be 96.

"We grew up hearing about Pete's Garage," Kurt Schwiesow said. "We wanted to take ownership of it."

Early next year, the Schwiesow brothers will pay homage to Lorenzen when they move their business, Pedal N Paddle Performance, from Ashwaubenon to the former International Harvester Co. buildings at 128 and 142 N. Broadway in Green Bay and rename the store Pete's Garage.

ZuLou, the current first floor tenant in 128 N. Broadway, will remain there while Scanhome Furniture, 142 N. Broadway, plans to relocate and reopen.

"We're trying to reset the clock on both buildings," Kurt said. "The sales office has not been touched since International Harvester. The point is to try and do something special for Green Bay."

The plan combines their love of history and preservation - both men restored and live in legacy homes in Green Bay's oldest neighborhoods -with a love for cycling, Nordic skiing, kayaking and endurance sports. Add in that both are eye doctors at Tower Clock Eye Center, another family business, and you get the sense Lorenzen's varied pursuits rubbed off on the two men.

"It's the culmination of our whole trajectory," Kurt said. "I love eyeballs, but this is a manifestation of our love of cycling."

The Schwiesows had been longtime customers of Pedal N Paddle when they bought the business from Cherie and Toby Curtis in January. They plan to keep several key employees on staff through the transition, too.

"It was fun to watch it grow under Toby's ownership," Tyson said.

After becoming owners, they started to look for a new location for Pedal N Paddle. They found out 142 N. Broadway was for sale, although it was a little larger than they expected. Tyson said the building's appeal began to increase when they learned it began life as a repair garage in 1936.

They said the availability of historic preservation tax credits helped convince them they could buy and renovate both buildings. Tyson said the upper floors of the International Harvester office still have the terrazzo floors, a massive safe and at least one 60-year-old urinal.

"We definitely wanted to invest in downtown Green Bay, but we also recognize we're building on the hard work of so many that came before us," Kurt said. "We think of this as a tangible payoff for the investments in the infrastructure throughout downtown."

The outdoor sporting enthusiasts will get a payoff from the move, too. With more space, Pete's Garage will stock a variety of bicycles, kayaks, outerwear, Nordic ski gear and triathlon gear. The Schwiesows also will have a GURU Fit System that will help cyclists try out various brands and models for fit and comfort before they buy. And they've leased space to TDA Coaching, a De Pere-based firm that offers custom coaching services for runners, cyclists and swimmers.

"We want the shop to service a variety of sports," Kurt said. "The lifestyle gets into your blood. We've embraced it."

"There's a community of cyclists and endurance enthusiasts out there and we want to build it up," Tyson added.

Renovation work on the new home for Pete's Garage will begin in early December and be completed in time for the store to open in early March. The store will occupy the first floor of 142 N. Broadway and some basement space in 128 N. Broadway.

Once that phase is completed next year, the Schwiesows plan to begin interior and exterior renovations at 128 N. Broadway.

"It's an undiscovered treasure right now," Kurt Schwiesow said. "Once it's brought back to its original appearance, it should be more noticeable."