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Photo by Mark Pace/Chattanooga Times Free Press — A sign is pictured on Virginia Avenue on August 11, 2019. Six-year-old Piper Gibson set up a bike cleaning business along the bike path.
some text Photo by Mark Pace/Chattanooga Times Free Press — Piper Gibson cleans her bike on Virginia Avenue on August 11, 2019. The 6-year-old set up a bike cleaning business along the bike path.

Piper Gibson sits along Virginia Avenue waiting for customers to stop by her new business.

So far, not many have come in its first few weeks, but the 6-year-old remains hopeful people will bring their bikes for a cleaning as summer turns to its final stretch.

Piper operates a bike cleaning shop on the Virginia Avenue Greenway along the gravel pull through that is 50th Avenue between 49th and 51st. She came up with the idea earlier this summer when a group of friends wanted to clean their bikes. She decided to make a business of it. She drew a sign on a piece of wood and went outside near her dad's St. Elmo home.

"Bike cleaning shop. $3 - clean frame. $1 - clean tires. Proprietor - Piper Gibson."

The first day she opened was tough.

"No one came. It was sad. I was crying," she said.

But the little girl with the pink and purple bike hasn't given up.The East Ridge Elementary first grader kills time cleaning her dad's hybrid Trek bicycle and her own ride that has a bell.

She's hopeful people will come, but regardless, she enjoys being outside in the sun where friends stop by and she can spend time with her dad. There's also sweet tea available to customers for a quarter.

"I'm extremely proud of her [for] coming up with the idea on her own and the determination she's shown," her dad, Sam Gibson, said.

Gibson describes his daughter as a fairly typical 6-year-old in a lot of ways. She's a very active, outdoors kid. She learned to ride a bike without training wheels last year and enjoys playing with her dog, Norman.

When inside, she watches YouTube videos trying to learn about new topics. She enjoys learning. She won her kindergarten's "smarty pants" award.

"She's a smart little girl," neighbor Merry Robinson said.

Robinson's grandson, La'Taurie Wilson, 9, plays with Piper and helped Sunday with the bike stand.

La'Taurie's mom, Cheryl Scruggs, along with Robinson and Sam Gibson, all mentioned Piper's intelligence.

"She really likes to learn stuff. She's very much into filling her mind with good things," Gibson said. "And I'm not just saying that."

He thinks his daughter will make a good businesswoman someday. That day may come sooner than he thought.

Piper will be along Virginia Avenue on Saturdays and Sundays from about 9 a.m. until "it gets too hot" around lunchtime, her dad said.

Contact Mark Pace with questions, comments, concerns or story tips at mpace@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659. Follow him on Twitter @themarkpace and on Facebook at ChattanoogaOutdoorsTFP.

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