Preston's Sutcliffe Cycles set to shut down at Christmas
Preston’s Sutcliffe Cycles is preparing to close its doors after 63 years of business.
Martin Sutcliffe, 64, who ran the shop with his brother Nick, 66, up until six years ago, is retiring after Christmas.
Sam Williams, the Sutcliffes’ maternal grandfather, opened his first bicycle repair shop in 1915 and bikes have been in the family ever since.
Martin said: “I was born into the business really, being just 13 months old when we opened this shop. I suppose you acquire a certain amount of knowledge by just being here, osmosis if you like. It just kind of gets into your pores.
“Nick was a competitive cyclist back in the day and most of the characters who’ve worked here have had some form of a competitive streak in them. It seems to have passed me by!"
Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has not been the driving force for the closure, Martin said it been somewhat convenient to “get out whilst the going’s good”.
He added: “At the moment we’re experiencing a bit of a trough, probably because of Covid, but it doesn’t seem to have affected trade much, just getting stock. That’s the issue that’s just dampening the whole thing down.
“There’s been a shortage of all sorts of things, not just bikes. Bikes have been short but it’s going to be a funny sort of Christmas because there’s precious little. We’re selling what we’ve got rather than what the public would like.”
After 37 years working in the shop, Martin reflected on the rewarding experience of working with the public and thanked them for their loyal custom.
“It’s getting to the point now where people are saying ‘my parents got my first bike from here and I’m 30 now’. And I’m thinking I probably sold your parents that bike, which is a bit emotional really.”
“I couldn’t think of a better job really. It’s been a blast.”
With his new-found free time Martin plans to finally dust off his own bike and cycle the Guild Wheel.
Sutcliffe Cycles will officially close on Christmas Eve.