USC offered Lil Bill's Bike Repair owner Aaron Flournoy a new location for his store behind the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology near Vermont Avenue, adjacent to Parkside Apartments. Flournoy turned down a job offer last week from the owners of Solé Bicycles, the new bike shop opening in University Village.
To Flournoy, the new location is "a slap in the face." Flournoy has until Friday to decide whether he will take the university up on its proposed location or leave campus by April 30.
It's unclear what the new location means for Solé's non-compete clause. Solé could not be reached for comment.
His current location, in a parking lot at the corner of 34th Street and McClintock Avenue, is in an area with heavy traffic. The new proposed location, on the other hand, is not as easy to spot.
Student Aaron Haas was concerned that the proposed new location is inconvenient. People already at USC might make the trek over near Parkside to support Flournoy's services, said Haas, but those who aren't familiar with the business might not.
"If you don't know him already, no one's going to say, 'Oh, you need your tires fixed? You know, go all the way down to the other end of campus,'" he said.
Flournoy said that his location on campus is good for business. "I've created a lot of relationships, a lot of bonding with these kids and some of the parents," he said.
His friendly demeanor has attracted many students to his business, one of whom felt extra appreciative of his help. Student Rachel Lester bought Flournoy a cupcake Wednesday to thank him for fixing her longboard.
Having a bike store on campus is convenient, said Lester. More than that, though, Flournoy is "somebody who feels like part of the Trojan family," she said. "It is more helpful than I could ever imagine."
Lester also suggested the replacement of Lil Bill's by Solé is part of the gentrification of the area. She felt it was unfair that Flournoy was "being kicked off campus."