329 Commercial Street

Arnold’s Bicycle Shop | Shirts ‘n’ Stuff

Arnold F. Dwyer (±1918-1998) was the namesake of this heritage business, founded in 1937 and at this location since 1938. Arnold’s was originally housed in what had been the Long Point school house and the Provincetown post office, but that large and notable structure was destroyed by an arsonist in 1949. It began as a radio and bicycle shop, then expanded into a houseware, appliance, bottled gas, home furnishing and real estate rental business, then contracted again to the bicycle trade.

Dwyer grew up in Lynn but was closely connected to Provincetown through his grandfather Fred Fisher, who had designed two cold storage plants, and his grandmother Sara Fisher, who was counted among the founders of the Universalist church here. His first shop was just a few doors to the east, where Land’s End Marine is now. Then he bought and refurbished the old D. A. Matheson dry goods emporium, where he did business until it was burned down in 1949. He and his wife, Ruth M. (Jason) Dwyer (±1919-2011), were living over the store at the time. (Sue Harrison, “Arnold F. Dwyer, Businessman, Dies at 80,” The Banner, 3 September 1998.)

“Flames were licking at my feet when I came down the stairs,” Mrs. Dwyer later recalled. “There was not even enough money to clear the lot. He said, ‘We’re not going to cry, we’ve got to pick ourselves up and get back to work.'”

The Arnold’s retail empire included the former U. S. Naval Mine Test Facilities building at 241 Bradford Street, which was used as a storehouse and had also suffered a fire, in 1948; and what is now the Patio American Grill, 328 Commercial Street, where the ample front yard served as parking for Arnold’s.

One summer, Dwyer advertised a new line of linoleum flooring by rolling it out of the store and blanketing part of Commercial Street. His daughter Beverly had the job of mopping it once an hour to show passersby how good it still looked even after being run over by so many tires and feet.

His grandson Robb Beaton is now running the bicycle business. The main selling floor has been leased to Shirts ‘n’ Stuff, a T-shirt and tchotchke emporium.







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