Ernie Clark, founder of non-profit Aurora Bicycle, dies suddenly and daughter says she will keep running the store

A bike shop in Aurora where anyone could pick up a used bike for free is temporarily closed because the man who was at its heart has died.

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Ernie Clark was the founder and owner of Second Chance Bicycle Shop. He died suddenly of a medical emergency on Wednesday.

The store is his non-profit organization that restores and donates bikes to those in need.

Their favorite project was giving bikes to Aurora’s kids for Christmas.

“All he wanted to do was contribute, make sure the kids had a smiling face, happy to have a bike,” said his daughter Betty Clark.

Ernie was a police officer in New Jersey for many years. After retiring, he moved to Aurora where he opened his non-profit organization. His friends and family say he loved Aurora and the people who live here.

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“Ernie was probably one of the most gracious, generous and caring men. One of the few I have ever met,” said Marc Nading.

Nading owns Marc Anthony Flowers, located next to Second Chance. They were friends and neighbors for five years and he says Ernie was a nice man with a mission.

“He was a man who cared about people in general and he did that,” Nading said.

Betty Clark says her father’s shop has been evicted from its current location. In July 2022 CBS News Colorado’s Michael Abeyta spoke to Ernie about his efforts to find a new space. Betty says her father was desperate for this new space and was very stressed about finding one. She thinks the stress may have contributed to her death.

“He felt like he was being pushed against a wall,” she said.

Betty plans to keep Second Chance Open and running. She hopes to find a solution to her father’s biggest problem: finding a new space, hopefully in Aurora.

“It’s worth staying, but if they don’t support it and find a building, we’ll go anywhere,” she said.

She says she knows she has her work cut out to take over her father’s shop, but it’s a promise she made to him.

“I already told him that when he died, come hell or high tide, I was going to keep his store going,” she said.

She says that since her father’s death, her family has seen an outpouring of support from the community. Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman released a statement on social media on Friday saying that Ernie will “be greatly missed” and that he “made a difference for countless residents.”

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