Guy Warthen can get back to selling and repairing bikes now that his cleaning is done.
The city ordered Warthen, who owns Guy's Bike Shop, 410 N. Main St., to clean up the used-bike portion of his lot or face a fine and jail term for violating Spanish Fork's nuisance law.Warthen was willing to meet city standards but needed help in doing it, so longtime friend J.C. Henderson stepped in as intermediary and promised the city he'd be responsible for the cleanup job.
"I've just kind of been (Warthen's) second bat all his life," Henderson said in a previous interview with the Deseret News. Henderson is Warthen's neighbor and also his former bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"Guy wanted to come into compliance with the ordinance but did not have the manpower to do so," said Spanish Fork Chief of Police Dee Rosenbaum.
Henderson reached a gentlemen's agreement with the city extending Warthen's cleanup time to three weeks. During that time, members of the Police Department and Chamber of Commerce donated manpower and time to help Warthen trim his inventory. Nine people worked for three hours the first day, Rosenbaum said, and he and a member of the Chamber of Commerce put in many additional hours.
Warthen said had the city pushed him to clean up he would have told them to "go to heck," but since Henderson did the pushing, the cleanup was more palatable.
Warthen's cleanup project consisted of whittling his used-bike inventory from about 225 bikes down to about 110. He also removed a 40-by-30-foot area of chain-link fence to meet city standards. Slats were placed in most of the remaining fence to hide Warthen's used bikes and bike parts from the road.
Warthen said he didn't mind tidying up, but he felt a lot of material was wasted. He wanted more time to go through his bike parts before throwing things out, and a lot of the fencing material was wasted because the city wanted things done so quickly. Still, Warthen said he wouldn't complain too much because Henderson was the one who spearheaded the cleanup and also paid for the fencing work.
Although the city is pleased with how things turned out, it remains to be seen how the new look affects business.
"People are making the comment that it looks nicer, so that's a plus," Warthen said. The down side, however, is that people are now asking if he still sells used bikes. The decreased visibility of his used bikes could hurt him unless people buy more new bikes, Warthen said. Used bikes account for 13 percent of Warthen's sales.
Ron Bohannon thinks it's unfair that the city made Warthen reduce his stock of used bikes.
"People fix things (in Spanish Fork) rather than throw them away," he said. "As I see it, this guy's doing the public a great service." Bohannon, a student working on a master's in communications at Brigham Young University, has been a bicycle mechanic and a manager and retailer in bike sales.
Because of Bohannon, Warthen may work out an arrangement with the Community Thrift and Relief Store in Provo. Warthen would sell as many as 12 bikes at a time at the store, and the store would get 20 percent of the sales.