Byron’s climbing rents were a downhill ride for bike shop
BEING slugged nearly $6000 a month in commercial rent coupled with an economic down-turn will result in the closure of the 22-year-old business Byron Bay Bicycles next week.
Popular owner Chris Webb who first opened his doors in March 1991, said attempts over five years to sell the business had failed once the interested parties learnt what he was paying for his 95sq m store at The Plaza on Jonson St.
His lease ending at the end of this month and his desire to move to South Australia to be closer to family had also factored in his decision to shut up shop.
Mr Webb said he had grown increasingly dissatisfied with the level of customer service he was able to offer due to no longer being able to afford to employ enough staff.
"It's a bit of a snowballing effect," Mr Webb said.
He has traded in three different locations in the town and said commercial rents started to climb in the late 1990s along with local land prices but had now grown to unsustainable levels.
The 55-year old is going to take around six months off - his first proper holiday in 22 years - before realising a life-long dream to enrol in an arts course to pursue his interest in drawing and painting.
But he'll also be maintaining his interest in biking noting that SA has lots of good bike tracks to explore.
Customer of 15 years Sharon Yarrington described Mr Webb as a legend who had provided a reliable, friendly and reasonably priced service and used to employ a lot of locals.
"We always got a bit of a locals discount," Ms Yarrington said.
Mr Webb is inviting all customers to gather at his store on Friday afternoon at 5pm to honour his "beer o'clock tradition" where "bicycles and bullshit" will be discussed for one last time before the doors close on April 23.