New REM owner excited for bike shop’s potential



JASPER — In March 1989, Paul Gasser founded REM Bicycle Center as a tiny, one-room basement store in a building off Jasper’s downtown Square. He figured it would be a seasonal business with its doors open only in the spring and summer.

Ethan Trusty couldn’t ride a bike at the time. Heck, he hadn’t even taken his first breath.

Gasser quickly moved REM to its current location on Main Street and remained opened year-round. And as the business grew, so did Trusty.

Wheels at the local bike and fitness equipment store — recently redubbed REM Bicycle and Fitness — are still spinning. But now, there’s a new man in charge.

On Tuesday, 30 years after the bike shop first opened, 27-year-old Trusty sat surrounded by handlebars and frames in the store’s back room and reminisced on his time working with Gasser. He also charted REM’s path into the future.

Gasser, 62, retired in December and passed the keys to Trusty, a biking and fitness enthusiast who plans to bolster the company’s storied connection to the local biking community.

“As a business owner, I’m excited for the potential of this business,” Trusty said. “Paul brought it here to the point that it’s at and did really well with it. Fitness in general just keeps growing, and it continues to keep growing. I look ahead and see so much potential, so many avenues we can take with the business and so many things that we can do with it.”

The shop has sold indoor cardio equipment like ellipticals and stationary exercise bikes for years, and Trusty plans to introduce strength equipment like weight machines and multi-gyms to its offerings as well. REM will also begin pursuing the sales of commercial fitness equipment for local outfits like hospitals, schools, hotels, apartment complexes, gyms and more.

“All these places need fitness equipment and have fitness equipment, so we figure since we’re a local place, we can provide that,” Trusty said. “We can provide this service to them where they don’t have to wait as long for them to get it and for it to be serviced.”

Renovations are also on Trusty’s to-do list. The 30-year-old carpet that greeted customers for decades has already been removed to reveal the building’s original, century-old hardwood floors. Bringing down the shop’s drop ceiling to uncover an ornate tin ceiling is part of the future changes, as is exposing brick behind walls and repainting.

Trusty started working at REM part time in 2010 and became a full-time employee about a year later.

His vision now is to see more people on bikes in the area. On top of the health and environmental benefits, Trusty said cycling evokes a sense of freedom in riders.

He hopes Jasper will further embrace fitness. While happy to see areas like the Jasper Riverwalk and Jasper Parklands available for use, Trusty said Louisville and Indianapolis, for example, are lined with biking lanes and walking paths that connect landmarks and buildings throughout them.

“I just think it would be great if Jasper — and I think one day they will — really just started going after that,” he said. “And I think it would just have a positive impact on the city because people’s health would be better. We’d be outside more, not in front of our screens as much. I just think there’s so many benefits to it, and so much potential for the community.”

Trusty said Gasser was a great boss and is a great friend. Trusty thanked him for the help and advice he gave him in his transition to owner. Whether it was how to raise kids or honestly connect with customers, Gasser taught him more than how to run a business.

Trusty is a Christian, and he said he finally took the plunge into ownership to glorify God.

“Everything that I do, I want to do it for His glory,” Trusty said. “That’s kind of the main purpose for why I’m doing this business. To give Him glory because he has created all things and has blessed me with what I have, and everything I have is because of Him and is His. It’s for His glory.”

Trusty lives in Huntingburg with his wife, Kenzie, and 3-year-old daughter, Amelia. The couple is expecting another child in August.

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