Fuel friendliness

Published 9:53 am Monday, May 14, 2012

Jerry and Elizabeth Latham are the owners of Main Street Cycles, a new business on Main Street selling scooters. -- Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

In an economy where most people are trying to save money, one local company is reaching out to customers to do just that — and have a little fun.

Main Street Cycles co-owner Jerry Latham speaks Albert Lea resident Pootie Reed Friday after she purchased a scooter. Reed said gas mileage played a big role in deciding to purchase a scooter.

Opened May 1, Main Street Cycles — at the corner of West Main Street and First Avenue — is offering scooters that could see as much as 100 mpg.

With gasoline prices hovering around $3.60 a gallon, owners Jerry and Elizabeth Latham said people are taking advantage of the cost-saving vehicles and have been coming in to check them out.

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One couple, Steve and Pootie Reed of Albert Lea, purchased a powder blue scooter Friday and were excited to try it out.

“We’ve been looking at these for a long time because of the gas mileage,” Pootie said. “It’s perfect for in Albert Lea.”

Steve said his wife already has a 30 mpg vehicle but was interested in the scooter just for driving around town. It has the potential of saving at least three times the gas mileage.

Helmets line a shelf in Main Street Cycles on Friday.

They plan to purchase one for Steve as well.

Jerry Latham said his wife only filled up the gallon and a half tank on her scooter — costing about $5 each time — probably four or five times the entire summer last year.

“That’s a pretty big feat,” he said.

Based on a gallon of gas costing $3.60 per gallon, a scooter with 100 mpg would cost about 4 cents per mile, while a compact car with 24 mpg would cost 15 cents per mile and a pickup with 14 mpg would cost 26 cents per mile.

“Everybody is looking for a way to save money these days,” Latham said.

He said he has been interested in scooters for his entire life, though he started out with mini bikes as a kid and learned how to fix them.

He has worked for other companies in town fixing scooters and decided if he’s already fixing people’s scooters, he might as well be the one to sell them, too.

“It’s been a lifelong dream,” he noted. “We have so many dreams that pass us by in life. It still hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

The business offers scooters ranging from 50cc all the way up to 250cc, along with dirt bikes for kids. The scooters come from Roketa, a Chinese-based manufacturer.

Latham said he decided to lease out the property, on the corner of West Main Street and First Avenue, because of its location.

“It was all about visibility for us and affordability,” he said.

Plus with living nearby, it was a perfect fit.

The company is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesdays and on Fridays. It is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

The business offers sales and repair services.

For information, call 373-2582.