A family-run bike shop which has served generations of cyclists for almost 50 years is closing its doors.
Dave Miller Cycles, on Frodsham Street, is one of the oldest independent businesses in Chester city centre.
Owner Dave Miller began trading from a small shop in Boughton in 1968 before relocating to Frodsham Street four years later and he’s been there ever since.
But now Dave, 76, feels it is time to enjoy a richly-deserved retirement and the ‘closing down sale’ signs have been put up in the windows of his much-loved store.
“We’ve really enjoyed it,” said Dave. “We’ve had a nice range of customers and they still keep coming to us. They’re all very, very sorry we’re closing down.
“We’ve had loads of cards and bottles of wine. People have almost been crying with tears in their eyes saying ‘you’re not going’ but we can’t go on forever.”
Dave has no official closing date although he expects to shut up shop for good in the next week to 10 days. He looking forward to retirement having worked so hard for so many years, and admits that increased competition from bigger retailers and also rising city centre rates were making it harder for him to carry on.
“I will miss the business a lot but I feel it’s the right time, after 45 years in this shop here,” said Dave, whose wife Ann, 75, has worked with him for many years.
Sons Stephen, 50, and Stuart, 45, have also lent their support, as have wider members of the Miller family.
“We run on good service and friendly service,” said Dave, proudly. “We all pitch in and it’s really paid off.”
Dave recalls pulling off something of a coup in the late 1960s when he went to a bike show and came back with 10 brand new Raleigh Chopper bikes. It was a risk buying 10 of the unconventional-looking bikes – but all 10 were snapped on on the first day of being on sale.
“We needed something new as the cycle trade was really bad in the late 1960s,” recalled Dave.
“I went along to a show and saw this bike and said ‘that’s what we really need – something a bit different to get life back into cycling’. So I bought 10.”
Customers have been incredibly loyal over the years, returning with different generations of their family to purchase new bikes and parts.
“We get adults coming in saying ‘my dad bought my first bike here, now I’m coming back because we like to keep smaller businesses going’,” said Dave.
The Kelsall resident is now looking forward to retirement, which will mean spending more quality time with wife Ann, more holidays and more time spent tending his garden.
He will also have more chance to get out and about on his bike – and might even take a trip across the Channel to watch the Tour de France.
See full story in the Chester Leader