Charles R. Conte, Sr. opened the first Conte’s bicycle store in Newport News, Virginia in 1957. Conte, the son of Italian immigrants, was a hard working machinist at a nearby shipyard when he opened his small, neighborhood bicycle and repair shop.
Conte ran the shop based on his love of bicycles and his vision of providing personal service, and top quality products that he could personally guarantee. By 1960, the store was doing so well that Conte left his job to devote his efforts full time to the store. In the bicycle boom of the 1970s, he relocated and expanded his store in the Newport News Hilton area.
Conte’s became famous for providing customers with a one-of-a-kind buying experience that made Conte’s customers, not only repeat customers, but customers for life. Conte’s bicycle shops were a family-run operation and Conte’s two sons, Charles Jr. and David, grew up in the business. They worked with their father first in Newport News and later in Norfolk, Virginia.
When Charles Sr. retired in 1986, he turned the stores over to his sons. Charles R. Conte, Jr. became President and David Conte became Vice President of Conte Bike Shops, Inc. By 2002 the Conte brothers had expanded to four family-owned stores by adding their most successful stores to date — in Virginia Beach-Hilltop and Richmond, Virginia. With the success of the Virginia Beach store, the brothers moved their corporate headquarters to Virginia Beach. With successful stores – the Conte's began exploring other ways to expand and replicate their success, but still keep the tradition of their father’s neighborhood bike store philosophy alive.
In 2012, Conte's celebrates its 55th year in business. Look for more stores opening up in a neighborhood near you.