Castleford bike shop owners to retire after more than 40 years
If you’ve ever bought a bike in Castleford, chances are that it probably came from Kendell Cycles on Middle Oxford Street.
But now, after 44 years, it is to close at the end of this month with the early retirement of its owners Gary and Tracy Proud unless a buyer can be found for the business.
Gary’s association with Kendell’s goes back to 1979 when, as a 16-year-old he entered into partnership with former Castleford schoolteacher Ken Cowdell who had set up the shop two years previously.
Gary soon established a reputation as a highly accomplished wheel builder. His skills and his keen eye were called upon by professionals and amateurs alike who valued his craftsmanship and attention to detail.
He said: “You have to have a lot of patience to build a wheel and there are not many of us doing it anymore.”
Over the years he built wheels for the likes of Malcolm Elliot, Ian Cammish, Graham Jones and Joey McLoughlin and many other members of the Great Britain squad.
Gary, 59, and Tracy, 57, took over the shop from Ken in 1991 and expanded into the two neighbouring properties knocking through to make one large shop.
They have a loyal customer base and have watched as some of their customers who were bought bikes as youngsters come in to the shop with their own children and, in some cases, grandchildren.
“We’ll miss all our customers, said Gary, “But we’ve decided it’s time to retire and enjoy our time together away from work.
“I’d really like someone to come and take over the business if possible - it would be a real shame if it had to close.”
Both Gary and Tracy are keen cyclists and supporters and members of the Featherstone Road Club.
Gary is president and club captain and Tracy is vice-president. They try to get out on the road two or three times a week if possible.
Tracy, who looks after the administration and accounts for the business, as well serving in the shop, said: “We’re going to have a couple of months off and enjoy a rest and then I might look for a part-time job to keep myself busy.