One might assume the last thing a business owner wants to convey is anger. But for Dave Larson, putting his nickname “Angry Dave” front and center on his business has proven to be a distinctive draw for customers.
As the owner of Angry Dave’s Bicycles in the Park Hill neighborhood of North Little Rock, Larson presides over hundreds of bikes both for sale and under repair. But it was a couple of drunk drivers who nearly caused a serious tragedy for Larson that drove him to the actions that earned his moniker.
“I had two gentlemen try to back into my house because they were drunk on beer and lost control of their trunk,” recalled Larson. “My girlfriend at the time was in the back bedroom and heard them lose control and watched him do a 180 through the front yard, and she started screaming at me to get the kids away from the front door.
“I moved my sleeping infant daughter to the room farthest from the front door and slammed the door open. I pulled the car’s passenger door open and pulled the passenger out of there, grabbing him by his neck and pushing his chest against the truck so he couldn’t get away while my girlfriend called the police.”
When officers showed up at the scene, they initially thought Larson was the culprit in need of arrest. But he thankfully convinced them otherwise, and soon a former coworker hit him with the title that he’s made famous.
On a day-to-day basis, Larson makes sure his store is a calm and happy environment. He started the store in another location down the street on JFK Blvd. in 2013 and grew into his current outpost in late 2020, taking over the building that once was the beloved Collector’s Bookstore comic book shop.
“We’re very well-known for my wheel building, because I build a lot of custom wheels to help people in racing and for style,” explains Larson. “We also do whole custom bikes adjusted to people’s sizes or made specially lighter, though we sell 16 different brands of complete bikes as well.”
A native of Lawton, Okla., 53-year-old Larson moved to Central Arkansas as a teen and got his career start working at the G.P. Bike Shop in Sherwood where he stayed for 16 years. When the store sold to Backcountry.com and moved operations to Utah, Larson opted not to uproot his two kids and leave his parents behind.
Instead, Larson opened Angry Dave’s with an SBA loan and developed an audience not only from across Central Arkansas but buyers from as far away as Montana.
Angry Dave’s survived the pandemic despite some struggles, and Larson notes that now, keeping enough bikes in stock is his biggest challenge. Supply chain issues have particularly impacted his ability to find inner tubes for his tires, and Larson notes that bike factories spent much of their cash flow on whatever it took to keep supplies going and stay alive.
Larson gave back to the community by helping organize a pump track at North Little Rock’s Emerald Park, giving young riders an official pathway to master their skills.
“The city didn’t know what they were getting into, but once they built it and saw the turnout, they were absolutely floored,” said Larson.
A turn of events which made Angry Dave, very happy.
Angry Dave’s Bicycles is located at 3217 JFK Blvd., North Little Rock. Call (501) 753-4990 or visit www.angrydavesbicycles.com