History a-1 to present
The history of Billy Goat Bicycle Company really begins with the bicycle racing exploits of Raymond J. Florman. His racing skills were equally matched with his ability to braze high quality racing frames. His mechanical skills quickly translated to his opening the Normandy Cycle Company in 1953. His success quickly led him to expand to multiple locations throughout the St. Louis area. In 1974 he found a Kirkwood location that would allow him to consolidate the businesses, and expand on what he was able to offer his customers. With the merging of multiple stores, he settled on the name A1 Bicycles Sales and Service. From 1974 until 2015, A1 operated under the Florman family. The year 2015 brought yet another big change to the shop at 10211 Manchester.
Sven and Dirk Sprogoe both bought their first road bikes at A1 Bicycles. Little did they know that those 2 purchases would lead to owning the shop one day. What began as riding back and forth to friends houses developed into a passion for bicycle racing, and ultimately the dream to one day own and run our their store. After decades in the industry and constant focus on their dream, they were able to make that a reality in 2015. They purchased the shop from Raymond Florman Jr, who is enjoying the transition to retirement, although he can often be seen here at the shop showing them how things are done. His knowledge and experience have been a major factor in preserving the rich history of the shop and setting it up for a promising future.
We often get asked about where the name comes from, we always enjoy telling the story. Sven and I had been struggling, almost to the point of fighting, to find a name for the shop that we had always dreamed of one day owning. The list of sub-par suggestions was long, and none inspiring enough for us to be able to agree upon. In fact, it got so bad at one point, that we kind of walked away from the project…….let’s call it, creative differences. During the “naming the shop hiatus”, we continued the hope that one day that the pieces would fall into place, and that perhaps it was better not to really force things into being. While visiting relatives in Door County, Wisconsin, a quick drive to Sister Bay was about to change our lives. If you’ve ever been to Sister Bay, then you are probably familiar with Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant. They’ve been drawing onlookers to their restaurant by having live goats grazing on their grass roof. With youthful memories of watching the goats in Door County, as well as remembering goat filled hiking adventures in Switzerland with our Grandparents, we knew we had found a name that was fun, and also very close to our hearts.