(WINDSOR, ON) – Another Walkerville business is packing it in. But before owner Ron Drouillard locks the front door of City Cyclery for the last time he posted a poignant message on Facebook.
Drouillard admits he is in the process of wrapping up a business that had grown out of a garage into a storefront on a side street off of Wyandotte Street East. The message is bitter sweet.
He said a critical factor in the decision, aside from personal reasons, like spending more time with his family, is the anti-business culture of the city.
“The City of Windsor,” he wrote, “is extremely anti-small business and has given me trouble since we bought 553 Lincoln. An inspector tried to bully us into tearing it down, and recently a by-law officer came to the shop, parked in the bike lane and left a citation with an order that I can no longer put bikes in front of my business unless I apply for an encroachment permit.”
The Cyclery has a rather large expanse of sidewalk between its front door and Lincoln Road. Drouillard has put his product on display, but to do that legally he faces the prospect of appearing before Council to, “… ask permission to change the language of the by-laws to include ‘bicycles’ as something that can be on ‘city property.”
For the most part, he says, he is not allowed to park his products were they can be seen during the busy summer selling months. That, however, was more of a nuisance.
What really jarred him to his decision to close was, “… all the negativity towards cycling by six councilors and the mayor. This negativity has had a negative impact on my business as my shop specializes in urban commuter bikes and accessories.”
So, with all the negativity around cyclists and infrastructure, we keep hearing more and more how people feel unsafe riding in our city. Riding in our city has always had its challenges, but when you have a majority of your municipal government publicly advocating against what you do for a living and their rhetoric makes it increasing unsafe to ride.
As a start to the closing process, expected to wrap up by month’s end, the retailer has put all of the rental bikes up for sale. The, “… black Bobbin Vintage bicycle; featuring drum brakes, rear rack, bell, and 5-speed internal gearing,” is going for $250.
Drouillard calls the going out of business sale, the Zig Zaggin’ Closing Sale. Zig Zag is a reference to city administration’s plan to reroute a bike path off of Wyandotte Street East, particularly where a number of retailers are located.
The new route is called the zig zag.
While Drouillard has decided to pull the plug, he has offered the business to his employees if they want to take it over. They would have to find a new location. There has been no public announcement of the employee’s plans.