The story of Avocet goes all the way back to ... 1930 or so. That's when Bernie Hoffacker started Palo Alto Toy & Sport in downtown (Waverley Street) Palo Alto, California. Palo Alto Bicycles was an offshoot of that original store, also in downtown (University Avenue) Palo Alto just a few blocks away. Bernie's sons Bud and Neal eventually ran the bicycle store. Both stores are still in their original locations, though the bicycle store has a nice new building (which I built for them, back in my General Contractor days).
Bud and Neal decided to launch a comprehensive line of components and accessories, and were early proponents of bike computers (just Off Topic in 1984 with the Cyclometer 20), women-specific saddles and other forward-thinking bits. As I recall, one of their early forays was a seatpost that was micro-adjustable but with accessible bolt heads. Sort of took the mystique (or maybe the cursing) out of adjusting a Campy two-bolt post.
I don't remember the year of Avocet's launch, but late '76 sounds about right. Avocet set up its repair/shipping operation in the Bohannon Park industrial area in Menlo Park to avoid the high cost of warehouse space in Palo Alto. It's less than 4 miles between the bike shop and the warehouse.
Avocet/Palo Alto Bicycles sponsored a hot young amateur team in about 1978/79, featuring a young Greg LeMond.
Bud & Neal are still around. If it seemed useful to anyone I could get in touch with them and see if they're willing to tell us the Avocet story first hand. BTW, Avocet still sells parts for their original computers, as well as some of the same items they pioneered "back in the day" at http://www.avocet.com/
Dave Ross who has moved on from general contracting in Portola Valley, California USA
Robert wrote: :And while I did know that Palo Alto was an early official Avocet dealer, I was unaware that "...Avocet was run by the people at Palo Alto Bike Shop". Can you offer a bit more information in this regard? For example, did the two enterprises share ownership, management, a combination of the two? The respective business addresses were certainly not one and the same. However, Palo Alto and Menlo Park are only but a couple of miles distance from one another."