August 27 2014 Latest news:
By Anthony Carroll
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Bicycle enthusiasts who were left disappointed when a long-serving Lowestoft bike shop closed its doors last month will soon be gearing up to celebrate its re-birth as a new pedal-power business.
On August 29 Streetlife closed its doors in London Road South after 33 years of selling bikes because of the difficult economic climate and the fact its owner, Alex Watts, wanted to concentrate on the Norwich arm of the business.
But next month bike lovers will be making their way back to London Road South site when it re-opens as Spoked, which is due to open on October 6.
The new-look bicycle store is owned by Howard Clarke, who had been the manager of Streetlife for six years until its closure.
Mr Clarke has taken the opportunity to run his own bike business as he says there should be enough demand for the increased range of bikes and accessories he will sell and the bicycle servicing and repair service he will be offering.
The servicing and repair arm of his business will see Mr Clarke set up a workshop, which he hopes will also offer a service to groups and businesses such as Pontin’s and Cefas
Mr Clarke, who said Spoked would open for six days a week, added: “The shop will offer everything it did before - and more.
“I am going out further than the shop did before with the servicing and repairing workshop. Places such as Pontin’s are interested with its hire fleet and Cefas.”
Mr Clarke, who has taken part in bike races for 20 years and lived in Lowestoft for 13 years, said after the first year of business he will assess the financial situation to see if he could take on staff.
As part of setting up his new venture, Mr Clarke is buying some of the stock from the former Streetlife store.
Streetlife was set up in Lowestoft 33 years ago by Richard Watts, who then passed it onto this son Alex, who is now focusing all his efforts on his Norwich branch at West End Street.
Mr Watts said the expense of travelling to Lowestoft several days a week and the poor economic climate in the town over the last couple of years led to his decision to close the store.
However he said he was sure his former store manager would make the new store a success.
Mr Watts said: “I believe Howard will make a good go of it.
“When your run your own business who put your heart and soul into it.”
Mr Watts also thanked his loyal Lowestoft customers over the last 33 years for all their support and business.
A Norwich-based business which started as a “man with a van” operation is eyeing further expansion after seeing its predicted turnover increase from £6,000 to £340,000 within five years.