Gleamers Bike Works is not new to the Charlotte scene. Irvin, usually called “Irv”, became interested in painting things, particularly vehicles, when ten to twelve years of age. After spending countless hours gluing model cars and airplanes together, his greatest satisfaction came from painting them.
When a bit older, Irv transferred his attention from plastic models to painting larger items, such as bicycles and anything else he could get paint to stick to.
Eventually it occurred to Irv that he might be able to turn his passion for painting into an income-producing endeavor. By this time he was in high school. Discovering that the school offered a course in auto body repair and painting, Irv jumped at the chance to learn as much as possible, and to become as accomplished as possible in his favorite pastime.
While still in high school, Irv purchased his first car…a 1963 Chevy Impala. Fortunately, the car needed a bit of fixing up…and, of course, that afforded Irv the opportunity to put his newly acquired skills into real-life action.
The car turned out beautifully; so much so that when people saw it and learned that Irv had restored it himself, they wanted him to do the same for them. Finally, his passionate pastime was becoming an occupational opportunity. It wasn’t long before Irv was acquiring so much work that he rented a two-bay building on Central Avenue in Charlotte, NC.
For quite a while Irv painted mostly cars. But then, someone asked him if he would paint his motor cycle. It occurred to Irv that painting bikes would call for a bit more creativity. Most riders wanted scenes or fancy embellishments added to their machine. Creativity was right up Irv’s alley. When Irv discovered that his motorcycle job had taken first place in a show, the bike enhancement department was off and running.
Many years have gone by since the opening of that first shop on Central Avenue, but Irv still loves to paint things, make them shine and turn heads. Of course, he’s glad that he can earn a living at what he loves to do, but even more than that, his greatest enjoyment is seeing a customer’s face light up when he sees the finished job, whether on a car or a bike.