Keeping Gates open

Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch is the fourth-generation owner of his family’s business, Gates Resale. Lynch’s late great-grandfather, Ira Gates, along with his grandfather, Henry Gates (who passed away in March at the age of 92), opened the Park Avenue retail store and pawn shop in 1944. Eventually, Lynch’s mother and father, Patty and Patrick Lynch, took the reins of the shop. And now Mike Lynch is carrying on the family business. The store has evolved over the years to provide a range of surplus, work clothing and camping gear to the Chico community. Lynch said Gates Resale takes a hands-on approach to serving its customers. The shop is located at 1152 Park Ave. Go to or call 342-2309 for more info.

How long have you been working in the store?

I started working here in the seventh grade [and worked here] all the way through high school and college. I moved to the Bay Area for about 10 years, but it wasn’t the place for me, so my wife and I moved back to Chico, started a family and I took over here. After working for a big corporation, I really like being more customer-oriented and making sure they get exactly what they need when they come in.

What is your best-selling item?

Our work clothing is the core of our business, whether it is pants, jackets, boots or rain gear. We carry a large supply of Carhartt that we order every week, so customers know we always have it. The bigger stores don’t order as frequently as we do.

How does it feel to run a long-standing family business?

It is something I am very proud of. We have been in Chico almost 70 years’ most businesses can’t last that long. My father was responsible for really shaping the business and making it more customer-oriented. I’ve learned a lot from him.

How do you give back to the community?

Every year we sponsor the canned-food drive that Chico High puts on, as well as donating clothes to the Jesus Center pretty regularly. Those are our two primary ways of giving back.

What is the strangest thing someone has tried to pawn?

One time a man tried to get a loan for a dead squirrel. He was obviously intoxicated, and had picked up a squirrel that had been run over a hundred times in the street and just brought it in. That was definitely strange.