Dublin’s oldest bike shop is set to close, with the current owners citing the rising cost of doing business as one of the reasons.
The family business Delaney’s Bikes, located in the south of the city, opened its doors more than a century ago.
The shop has been at the junction of Harold’s Cross Bridge, south of the city, since 1917.
Brian Delaney, who has worked alongside his brother Paul at the store for four decades, said the store has helped thousands of Dubliners with their bikes over the years.
The business was started by their great-grandfather and has been passed down ever since.
”I don’t think we ever thought it would last this long…being in the family and one generation taking over for the next, but I don’t think any of us realized that we would reach 105 years. Few things last that long these days, so we must have done something right,” Brian said.
Except for a few touch-ups over the years, the store’s red front has remained the same. It has become a landmark, a familiar site to many on the busy route.
“My dad used to say that when someone was looking for directions, they were always told, ‘Are you coming to Dublin? Walk down the canal to the red shop around the corner, then turn over the bridge and you go straight into town. “They would refer to a bend here,” he said.
In the basement, Paul rummages through stock and old bills dating back to the 1960s.
”I wish we could continue. But that’s just not feasible in the current climate. So we did our numbers, added up what was coming in and what was going out. And we decided to close the door,” Paul said.
The brothers are close to retirement age, but the current cost of business has sealed their fate.
“Everything I buy has gone up almost 60%. And then of course you have your cost of living, your electricity…they’ve all gone up,” Paul said.
“We tackled it as best we could. We made longer opening hours, we lowered our wages… It took a lot of time and a lot of thought and a lot of back and forth. -comes between me and my brother.
“And when we put pen to paper, talked to the accountant, he said, ‘Yeah, you guys are doing the right thing. Close it and open a new chapter elsewhere “.”
This week, loyal customers came to say goodbye. The shop and the two floors above are for sale. The brothers will lock themselves up for the last time at the end of the month.
“It probably won’t hit me until I close the door and when I look back and say, ‘Wow, we just turned 100’. Thinking about it now, it’s happening to me. It’s going to be hard, yeah, absolutely. The end of an era,” he added.