“God Will Bless Your Business
Guideposts|August/September 2021
George Turner was sure the pandemic would spell the end of his struggling bike shop. His pastor had other ideas
JIM HINCH
Remember when you learned to ride a bike? George Turner, 48, owner of Penuel Bicycles in Inglewood, California, talks with reverence about his childhood BMX dirt bike. “It was freedom,” he says. “I did whatever it took to get on that bike, as long as I was home by dark.”

George and his friends rode to the beach, the mall and construction sites, where they wedged through fences and dared one another to ride over huge dirt mounds and other obstacles.

Home meant chores, homework, annoying siblings, dressing up for church. A bike meant escape.

George transformed that reverence into a livelihood. He opened his neighborhood bicycle shop in 2010. Before that, he had worked for years slinging boxes for FedEx while selling bike gear and accessories online.

The store fulfilled a lifelong dream. George named it Penuel Bicycles because Penuel is the name of the place where Jacob wrestles with the angel in the book of Genesis. George had been wrestling over his future. Spend the rest of his life working for someone else? Or pursue his true love?

Many people harness their passion and start a business. Roughly 60 percent of those businesses close after less than a decade, according to the Small Business Administration.

Ten years after opening his shop, George feared he was about to join that 60 percent. Penuel, it turned out, was the place where George struggled after he opened his business. It was also where he learned about God’s business: redemption of what seems irretrievably broken.

Penuel Bicycles is a one-room shop on a busy commercial strip some 10 miles from Hollywood but a world away from the limelight. There are rows of bikes as well as parts and gear for sale, plus a small repair area behind the counter.

Inglewood is a working-class city with a diverse population. Historically, the city was a center of L.A.’s Black community. Today nearly a third of residents were born outside the United States, and half speak a language other than English at home.

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