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Archive for Monday, March 25, 1996

SUNFLOWER GIVES BOY BIRTHDAY PRESENT

March 25, 1996

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Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop gave a boy a bicycle he put on layaway just five days before the shop was burned by fire.

Five days after 7-year-old Taylor Worthington put a new bicycle on layaway, the bike shop caught fire.

Looking at the remains of Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop the next day, Taylor thought his future ride had gone up in smoke, along with much of the gutted building.

But on Taylor's eighth birthday Monday, the bicycle shop gave him a present -- the bike he put on layaway, paid in full.

"I'll probably ride it even if it is raining," he said.

The six-speed "Hard Rock Specialized" bike was just as Taylor remembered it. He rode it out of the store on Monday with his mom, Barbara, following.

"These are the instructions here," said Dan Hughes, manager of the bike shop, now at 844 Mass.

"They're in a couple of different languages, so if you get tired of reading them in English you can read them in French and Spanish," Hughes joked.

Taylor raised the money for the bike from a neighborhood newspaper he put out on his computer and sold to neighbors. He had a balance of just under $100, which the bike shop wrote off as a gift.

"We've been trying to do this for a lot of our customers who had bikes on layaway," Hughes said.

Taylor's bike was one of several that were in the basement of the building at 804 Mass., which along with Sunflower Surplus, 802 Mass., and the building formerly containing Herbivores, 9 E. Eighth, caught fire on Feb. 26.

A hot water heater later was determined to be the cause of the fire.

Many of the bikes in the basement of the building received little or no fire or smoke damage.

Hughes said employees and customers of the shop have experienced a series of good and bad events since the fire.

"It's been a real roller coaster of emotional highs and lows," he said. "Things like this (present to Taylor) help to kind of cancel out some of the bad moments."

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