Jon Greenstreet is a follow-through, full-throttle, saves-the-day kind of guy. A small business owner, cycling and outdoor enthusiast, community leader, family man and civic volunteer can be counted on to pitch in whenever and wherever needed.
For the recent O’Fallon Illuminated Holiday Parade, he was one of organizer Beth Ortega’s invaluable “elves.” When delays in the downtown pavilion meant the parade’s free after-party no longer had a place for refreshments, Santa visits and fellowship, as advertised, Jon came to the rescue.
He offered his business, the Bike Surgeon, located at 201 E. State St. near the new O’Fallon Station, as the gathering place.
“It was the right thing to do,” he said. “We were excited to do it downtown. There was a slew of people. There was hot chocolate, popcorn, cookies for the little kids. We set everything up in here, Santa was in a corner up front. The line for Santa was long, about 60 to 70 people were always in the line waiting. People could take their own photos.”
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Ortega was grateful for Greenstreet’s swift action.
“Jon is absolutely amazing. Even when last-minute changes left us without a home for our post-parade free party, Bike Surgeon didn’t even hesitate to step up and give us a great place to land our event,” she said.
Jon’s wife, Emily, is Ortega’s longtime partner in her real estate business, Beth Ortega Group @Re/Max Preferred.
“They are not only great sponsors of the event and not only provided us a safe place to land our parade and party, they even included the entire day and evening worth of support services from their entire crew,” Ortega said.
“Jon and Emily personally sit on the very small team of leaders that make this happen, and Jon deserves the world’s biggest trophy for his incredible generosity and support of this town,” she noted.
“Emily and Jon are my co-conspirators in every amazing adventure, always willing to step in and step up anywhere it’s needed. Jon is a wonderful leader in our community and even more, he’s an incredible friend. What he brings to the table is beyond measure, and I am forever grateful for him in our lives,” she said.
Police estimate that the crowd was about 15,000, the largest to ever see a parade in O’Fallon. Greenstreet concurred.
“I think so. It was phenomenal. People were lined up for a couple of blocks. There were so many little kids,” he said, also taking note of the many volunteers and donors who made the event happen.
“It’s cool to see small town Americana still happening,” he said.
Greenstreet said it is natural for him to step up and volunteer. He grew up in Lebanon, son of Jeff and Karen Greenstreet, who are now retired but help build housing across the country with Habitat for Humanity. They are also involved in the local O’Fallon group.
He said his wife is a driving force behind being active in community events, and volunteering where needed. They have four children: Hugh, Clara, Sid and Eli, and they often work together – and ride bikes together. They all pitched in at the parade.
For Jon, bike riding as a kid and being outdoors were enjoyable activities.
“I rode a fair amount. I bought my first bike at Schwinn Pedal-In (former local business),” he said. “When I moved to Carbondale, I got into more races. For a number of years, it was a hobby.”
A 1993 graduate of Mater Dei High School in Breese, Greenstreet earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
He had worked at the original Bike Surgeon there, founded by Mark Robinson in 1974. He stayed in Carbondale to run a business development/entrepreneur center, and the original owner had sold the bike shop, and it had changed hands one time before Jon and Emily got involved.
In 2004, they purchased Bike Surgeon, and brought in Chris Norrington in 2005 to run operations.
“Things continued to get bigger and better,” Greenstreet said. Constantly looking for ways to improve and grow, they relocated the shop to Shiloh in July 2009, in the Green Mount shopping complex. By then, Bike Surgeon was nationally ranked as one of the Top 100 bicycle retailers in the country.
In February 2017, he moved the shop to downtown O’Fallon. They stock brand-name bicycles, accessories and apparel, offer bike repair services, make custom-fit bikes, and sponsor activities.
“We have custom bike-fitting to make it more comfortable for the rider. We want to make sure our bikes work well for customers,” he said.
They sponsor mini-workshops, teach cyclists how to tune up their bikes, and offer one-on-one clinics. “They can hone their skills.”
Also a city resident, he is one of O’Fallon’s biggest boosters.
“The downtown environment is more of a fit for us and for the community. It’s neat to see people get outside, walk around a bit,” he said. “Luckily, we’re still pretty small town. This is a fun place to live and work.”
That’s why they sponsor open bike rides for new cyclists to old pros, whether it’s roads or bike trails.
Through his line of work, he is a cycling enthusiast, telling people to return to an activity they enjoyed as a youth.
“The biggest thing is convincing them. I tell them ‘It’s just like riding a bicycle.’ It’s just as fun as it was when you were 10 years old,” he said. “You can do smaller jumps into it – the main thing is to get out and do it. It’s fun to be able to see people from 2 to 85 enjoy it.”
The Tuesday Night Group Ride starts at 6 p.m. from the shop and has three pace groups available, spanning the time change months from spring to fall. A Family Bike Ride is on Thursdays at 6 p.m. during the summer months. A Chilly Willy Ride is held during the winter.
For their sponsored rides, all participants are required to sign a waiver, which is kept on file for a year.
Greenstreet is hoping that when bike trails, installed by the Metro East Park District, will be ready next summer, that will make a difference in some group participation.
“There are lots of neat ways we can make them fun and enjoyable for kids,” he said.
Building a community of riders, and with his strong focus on the customer experience with his team of mechanics and tech, Greenstreet has continued to grow. He opened another location in Edwardsville two years ago.
He and his team support numerous regional cycling events. They have been known to help many cyclists whose bikes break down.
“Sometimes, we sponsor two or three at a time, and we have a team that helps support the riders, have safety checks, check their tires, fix flat tires, get riders back up and running,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s a simple adjustment.”
This summer, he organized a bike ride and road race for the first annual CityFest, O’Fallon’s resurrected homecoming.
The O’ Town Hustle Super-Sprint Biathlon was a 1-mile grass and road run course with a 10-mile bike ride through town and rolling hills north of O’Fallon, open to anyone 10 to 100. The event was co-sponsored by Bike Surgeon, Toolen’s Running Start and the city.
“Everybody had a good time. We help at many different festivals,” he said.
“It’s really neat to see the small town Americana that for some reason has been real easy to let die off. It’s neat to be able to rekindle that, see people enjoying each other and people helping.”
He helps with Outdoor Club activities at the high school – one daughter and son are involved. He also organizes events at Camp Ondessonk, which is owned by the Belleville Diocese and located in the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois.
“It’s good for kids to get out and get dirty,” he said.
Helping cycling grow is important, but so is connecting to the community.
“It’s the little things that can make such a difference. That’s why we like helping out,” he said.
Q: Do you have words to live by?
A: Enjoy Life, work hard.
Q: Whom do you most admire?
A: My Dad, good guy, chat with him if you get a chance.
Q: If you could spend time with a famous person, past or present, whom would it be?
A: Jesus, can’t think of anyone else’s thoughts I would rather hear.
Q: What is the last book that you read?
A: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
Q: What do you do for fun and relaxation?
A: House project, car projects, family time, a little bike riding here and there.
Q: What is the usual state of your desktop?
A: Organized chaos.
Q: What did you want to do career wise when you were growing up?
A: Fly airplanes.
Q: What do you think is your most outstanding characteristic?
A: Dashing good looks.
Q: What irritates you most?
A: Stupid. It pops its ugly head up all the time in all kinds of places.
Q: What type of music do you listen to?
A: Techno, country, jazz, blues, grunge, you might say I have an eclectic palate when it comes to music.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The team and customers I get to work with each day.
Q: If you were independently wealthy, what would you be doing?
A: Traveling, likely in a sailboat if I could talk the wife into it :).
Q: When they make a movie of your life, who would play you?
A: Jack Black
Q: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would you have with you?
A: A boat....