Century-old bike shop to close

Rowlett’s Bicycles is shutting down its store after 95 years in business, according to an announcement on the store’s website.

“Basically it was a combination of the same things that are harming all traditional retailers,” said owner Fred Allyn. “The recession didn’t help anything, [and there is] a lot of new competition and the Internet.”

Allyn said the store did not have a specific closing date but was selling through its inventory.

“We’ll be in the building at least through the end of April,” he said.

Allyn, 63, would not comment on specific competitors.

He’s taking an early retirement and hitting the road.

“I plan on riding my bicycle more,” he said. “That’s my stock answer, and I’m sticking to it.”

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9 Comments on "Century-old bike shop to close"

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Sean Yeager

Sniff! Richmond is losing a quality resource in the bicycle community. Very sad to see them go.

Best of luck to Fred and everyone else there. Thanks for the support over the last 20 years!

J.P. Kelley

Best of luck to Fred and the whole Rowlett’s family. Your knowledge in the store and encouragement on the road were a big part of my return to cycling a few years back. Looking forward to seeing you on the road more often.


So sad! Another victim of this horrific economy….


bought my first Schwin 10 speed bike at Rowletts back in the sixties.

Phil Riggan

Thank you Fred, J.P. and everybody else. I’m sorry to see you go, wish you the best. Richmond’s bike scene is growing again and you’ve been a part of that comeback (and helped create the scene in the first place).

Michael Jonew

Very sorry to see Rowlett’s close. I worked there while in college and a couple of years after graduation. Mr. Ticer and his wife were great friends and old school retailers when customer service and personal relationships counted. A “reunion” with the people that worked there over the years would be great!

Sean Cantrell

Sorry to see the “lett’s” close down, our daughter got her first bike there.

Scott B. Sirles

This won’t change the fact that I won’t be able to eat a Krispy Kreme without thinking about this place. Rowlette’s was a major part of my youth. I still own the bike I built their as a part time employee in high school. Still has that Rowlette’s sticker, which I’m glad I never removed. Thanks and see you on the trail!

Cynthia Oliver

You might want to reconsider closing w/gas prices soaring. More folks are going on the road with their bikes instead of cars.