Cycle seller rode with the times

CHLOE WINTER
Last updated 12:21 26/02/2014
Bill Mitchell
Emma Allen

Selling up: AvantiPlus Blenheim owner Bill Mitchell with a Raleigh single speed bike from the early 1980s when he first started selling bikes.

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After almost 30 years and 18,000 bicycles, Bill Mitchell believes it is time to sell his bike shop in Blenheim.

Mr Mitchell listed his business AvantiPlus Blenheim for sale in October last year.

"I'm looking at 30 years in November, so I think I'm due to retire."

It wasn't a very hard decision to make, he said.

"I've been planning it for the last four to five years."

His time in the bike business had been great and he still loved coming to work every day, he said.

He has sold bikes for all ages, from toddlers through to much older folk, and for people who ride for pleasure through to those who ride competitively.

"At the end of the day we have been a family store more than anything else. I've got third-generation families coming in.

"So, from the ones being born to the ones going out the other side, we try cover them all."

Mr Mitchell's bike shop began as a sports shop when he bought Marlborough Sports in 1984.

Soon after he bought the business, triathlons started to become popular in New Zealand.

"So I thought ‘hey this might be the way to go'."

He rebranded his business as Spokesman Cycles Triathalon Centre.

A couple of years later BMX racing took off and no one could find decent BMX bikes to buy and sell so AvantiPlus filled the void, Mr Mitchell said.

Avanti approached him not long after they established themselves and asked if he would like to join the franchise, he said.

"We got on the wave which took off fast. It just probably just evolved from that."

Mr Mitchell has been involved with many events in the community and sponsored a lot of Marlborough athletes.

"I've been involved with some amazing sports events in Marlborough." He hoped a Marlborough person would buy the business and continue this tradition.

Once the business sells, he and his partner will travel around the country visiting family.

"We will probably go round the country and see a lot of people we haven't seen over the years."

They still want to stay with Avanti and work in other shops around the country so the owners can go on holiday. "We will still be Blenheim based though, we won't move out of here."

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- The Marlborough Express

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