Maui bicycle shop owner watches Makawao store ‘go up in flames’
January 26, 2023, 6:00 AM HST
* Updated January 26, 6:10 AM
Upcountry resident Aaron “Moose” Reichert awoke a little after midnight Tuesday to a call that said his bicycle shop was on fire.
He raced down to Krank Cycles in Makawao to watch everything he’s put his “heart and soul into go up in flames.”
“My heart’s broken,” he told Maui Now on Wednesday. “I’m not a crier but I’ve been crying.”
Krank Cycles, one of Maui’s original bicycle shops, gives away bikes to kids and helps repair bikes free in Maui County communities each year.
The bicycle shop at 1120 Makawao Ave., along with neighboring business Makawao Town Pharmacy, were shuttered Wednesday. Soot and water damage could be seen from the road. The smell of smoke wafted through the street.
Maui Fire Department responded to the call at 11:13 p.m. Monday to find a “heavily involved dumpster fire” that impacted the commercial building next door. The fire was extinguished at 2:10 a.m. Tuesday, and damages were estimated at $1 million to the building and $200,000 to the contents, officials said. An investigation is under way.
Reichert said a dumpster caught fire around 11 p.m. and flames ran up his building, hit the rafters and went down into his shop. Bikes, clothing and other products were badly damaged — an estimated $100,000 in losses. Reichert said his insurance is only covering a quarter of that.
Now, Reichert said his main concern is pivoting to keep his employees paid so they can support their families. He has nine employees between his two shops in Makawao and in Kahului.
“I have to have revenue to keep these people feeding their families,” he said. “That’s just my main focus, to keep my employees going and to keep the service to the community.”
The owner said he’s thankful the landlord found a spot in the same Makawao building for a pop-up store, where Krank Cycles will move some of their things. He will be wiping silt off product and moving items into the unit across from Liquor Shack & Grinds over the weekend.
Reichert said he doesn’t want to speculate about how the blaze started but would rather let the fire officials do their work.
“I have to spend my time worrying about my employees and their families and pushing ahead rather than trying to put blame on something,” he said. “I just have to push ahead and keep doing the next right thing.”