Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop began in 1972 as Sunflower Surplus, an Army-Navy surplus store. The business, then as now, was located in the historic Baker-Ridenour building at 804 Massachusetts St. in Downtown Lawrence. As the outdoor pursuits of it's staff members grew, Sunflower Surplus added equipment and clothing to complement a wide range of activities. Bikes, tents, sleeping bags, canoes, kayaks, climbing gear, backpacks, hiking boots, and all manner of clothing found their places next to the Army surplus in an ever-filling store.
In 1991, the Millstein's purchased the building next door at 802 Massachusetts St. and began the process of creating some breathing room. The addition of the new space allowed bikes, boats, and tents to be displayed year-round. On February 26, 1997, tragedy struck the business. A raging fire caused by a water heater left the 802 Massachusetts St. building as a complete shell and heavily damaged the Baker-Ridenour building. For a year, the business was moved down the street to 844 Massachusetts St. while craftsmen and staff members worked to rebuild the two buildings. Exactly one year later the job was nearing completion and the business moved back to its original home for a truly grand reopening. In early 2001, Susan and David passed the reins to longtime staffer Dan Hughes, his wife Karla and their son, Arthur. The Hughes' hope to carry the great tradition established by the Millstein's into the next century.