A FAMILY-run bike store evicted from their long-term home by Vivid a year ago have reopened in a "bigger and better" store.

As previously reported, Winklebury Cycles, who were at the heart of the community for 30 years, were kicked out of their store last October after the housing association that owns the building repossessed it, giving them no notice.

Proprietor Gary Langron said that Vivid had "effectively [thrown] me out on the street", and that he was refused access with no access to his stock.

But now, 12 months on, Gary and his team have rebuilt and celebrated the opening of their new store on Wella Road, near Winchester Road roundabout on Saturday.

Basingstoke Gazette:

They've rebranded, now called The Cycle Emporium incorporating Winklebury Cycles, and Gary says that he is not looking back but looking to the future and getting back to serving the community of Basingstoke.

Speaking to The Gazette on opening day, Gary said he "wasn't ready to give up" and is excited with the bold plans he has for the future.

"I am ecstatic really," he said. "We have been operating the whole way through. We just dealt with it and carried on.

"It has been great to have so much support from people. It will be a lot better now we have moved on.

"I am glad to see the back of Vivid."

At the time, Vivid told The Gazette that it was "essential" for them to repossess the unit, because of "serious breaches of the lease which included the illegal removal and disposal of asbestos arranged by the tenant".

When The Gazette visited the old shop, in Winklebury Centre, on Saturday, it laid empty with the shutters down, in the same apparent state as 12 months ago.

Basingstoke Gazette:

Gary said what Vivid did was "very very wrong". "You wouldn't do that to your worst enemy.

"It was a way of getting me out without compensating me in any way. They just got rid of the whole community there.

"If they had said 'in six months time would you consider moving out' I would have done it."

Taking the show on the road

After Gary and his team was able to get their stock back, their business became virtual.

Jordan, Gary's daughter, said the team were meeting customers for repairs and to hand over bikes, including having to meet some in car parks.

"We have been doing everything", the 55-year-old added. "We have been collecting bikes, we have been operational completely.

"What you give is what you get and we here to help people and keep people going.

"I have had so much support from a lot of friends, family and everyone. We are up and running and here to stay."

The Cycle Emporium team got their hands on the unit, at Champion House, at the start of September, and have worked solidly since to turn the empty shell into a bike showroom, complete with repair space at the back and even a loading bay.

Basingstoke Gazette:

Stephen Daniel, a friend of Gary who met him shortly before the first Covid lockdown when he went into the shop to buy a bicycle, called it a "labour of love".

"Would I do it again? Yes every day. It has been an amazing journey."

Gary now has lofty plans for The Cycle Emporium, which include channelling the community and family business aspects from the business's former guise.

"We have got lots and lots planned," he excitedly explained. "We want to start getting involved in a mountain bike club started up by a friend. Basingstoke needed that.

"People can use this as a start-off point and we are going to get a coffee machine in here."