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Len Mattoili poses on a bicycle during this 1983 photo shoot. American TV and Appliance would give away bikes with certain purchases.

Crazy TV Lenny wants everyone in Madison to know he’s saddened but not surprised by the announcement this week that American TV is going out of business.

“I really feel bad for the employees who are losing their jobs,” said Len Mattioli in prepared comments Tuesday. “I was sorry to see the decline since I left. God Bless and good luck.”

Mattioli, the man who built American TV into a Midwestern retail powerhouse before selling his majority stake in 1998, is on vacation in the Cayman Islands but has been responding to press inquiries via Mark Beyler, shop manager of Len’s Electric Bikes.

Beyler says Mattioli still maintains an office at the American TV flagship store at 2404 West Beltline Highway in Madison, but has not been involved in the business for the last 16 years.

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“He had the office and a few shares but that was about it,” said Beyler, whose own history with American TV included helping with the famous free bicycle giveaways.

Today, Mattioli is selling electric bikes out of a retail store at 6107 Odana Road and Beyler said business has been going so well there is talk of an expansion into Milwaukee. He said the store sold 400 bikes last year and has been finding lots of interest over the Internet.

“We’ve been shipping them to California and Florida to people who have never heard of Len,” says Beyler. “But he is great at what he does.”