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Yellow Devil Gear Exchange revs up Long Beach

Yellowdevil1Between the helmet and gloves, jacket and pants, the boots, as well as the actual motorcycle, riding can get expensive. Proper gear alone can run upward of $1,000.

But a new consignment shop in Long Beach hopes to change that. Yellow Devil Gear Exchange, opening Friday, sells new and slightly worn gear for less than half of what it would cost at regular retail.

Yellowdevil2 "I'm trying to price it so it's a really good deal, especially for people who can't afford to buy new," said Yellow Devil founder Jessica Prokup. "I'm trying to make really good gear accessible."

Yellow Devil sells new and used jackets, pants and boots from major brands such as Harley-Davidson and Vanson. Women's jackets are priced $55-$99 used, $150-$240 new. Men's jackets are $99-$189 used, $125-$300 new. Boots are $25-$40 used, $85-$200 new.

Prokup also sells helmets for $65-$235, but they are all new -- sourced either from salesman samples or overstock from stores. Prokup, who is also a motorcycle safety instructor, wants to be sure the helmets she sells have not been dropped or damaged in any way and are still effective.

Sourcing most of her materials from riders, Prokup consigns items for 90 days. Together, they determine a price. If the item sells, Prokup takes 40%. If the item doesn't, it's returned to the owner.

Yellowdevil3 A personable 35-year-old with an easy smile and warm demeanor, Prokup has been a motorcyclist for 10 years and has been involved with the industry just as long. Originally from the East Coast, she was a motorcycle magazine editor, then director of emerging market communications for the Motorcycle Industry Council in nearby Irvine before deciding to strike out on her own.

On Tuesday, Yellow Devil Gear Exchange was still a work in progress. The mannequins in its front plate-glass window were unclothed. The blue leather couch in its main room was stacked with jackets. And the room of casual and off-road wear was cluttered with boxes of motocross boots.

Prokup was moving hangers of jackets from one rack to another in front of a striking piece of wall art featuring a vintage race bike canted over on a track, putting the finishing touches on a store she is opening Friday -- the same day the International Motorcycle Show kicks off in Long Beach.

The seed for Yellow Devil was planted at an International Motorcycle Show two years ago, when Prokup, who was working for the Motorcycle Industry Council at the time, was in charge of the Women's Studio -- an area that allowed women to try on gear and sit on bikes in front of full-length mirrors.

"That's what made me want to do a store," she said. Originally, her idea was something upscale and in L.A. But "with the economy, that was totally not a reality anymore, if it ever was," she said.

Consignment made a lot more sense.

"There are a lot of kids riding around Long Beach in shorts and T-shirts and sneakers. I don't know if they're choosing not to wear gear or if they spent all their money on their bikes, but if they come in here and see this nice gear that's more affordable, maybe I can convince them to wear it," said Prokup, a safety advocate who named the shop for her twin loves -- motorcycling and Long Beach.

The vintage bike in her store logo was called the Cyclone, as was a vintage roller coaster that helped put the South Bay city on the map. The bike's nickname was the Yellow Devil. It was a serendipitous inspiration for this innovative and timely shop.

-- Susan Carpenter

Photo: Jessica Prokup, owner of Yellow Devil Gear Exchange in Long Beach. Credit: Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times

 
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