Bicycle Centre Hawkesbury celebrates 40 years in Richmond

IF YOU were around the Hawkesbury in the eighties you'll remember the Toy Barn on West Market Street in Richmond.

They didn't only sell children's toys back in the day - they also sold hobby items like fishing rods and tackle, and even guns and ammunition.

According to Daniel Kapetanovic, owner of Bicycle Centre Hawkesbury - as the shop is known today - what kept the family in business for the last 40 years was being 'nimble'.

"Back in 1980 when mum and dad bought the store it was a real country store - it was a mixed bag. It was a very different business back then," he told the Gazette.

"We've been in the current premises which we built specifically around 30 years. I remember painting it when I was 13 or 14 - I'll be 42 this year."

Mr Kapetanovic's parents Ilija and Helen still work in the store, Ilija selling bikes and Helen doing the accounts.

They have employed a number of casuals over the years, but full-time workers Eddie Salas - a former Australian olympian - and Shane Reynolds have been with them for the long-run.

"We've been bike-only for around six years now. That direction was taken when mum retired from working full-time," said Mr Kapetanovic.

"The firearms and ammunition were given away when gun laws tightened [in the 1990s], and fishing gear after that, while toys and hobbies remained up until six years ago."

Mr Kapetanovic's parents remember when the arcades were full and a gentleman used to ride his horse to the Richmond shops and tie it up outside.

"Retail is tougher now. I still hold out hopes that we get a little bit more of a vibrant retail sector in Richmond," Mr Kapetanovic said.

"If I look back at 40 years of trading, it's probably been the interest to adapt to changing markets [that's kept our business alive].

"Our business was built around service, and we still continue to provide that today. Bicycles have become more complex over the years, so our workshop has grown hugely.

"Our customer network spans outside of the Hawkesbury to the Blue Mountains and The Hills, right through to Bathurst, Orange and the south side of Sydney."

Recently, the business experienced a COVID 'bike boom'.

"Electric bikes have also enabled people who didn't used to be interested, or who are no longer able to ride, to take up the sport or continue," Mr Kapetanovic said.

Bicycle Centre Hawkesbury is at 6 West Market Street, Richmond. Call 4578 1314.