RAMSEY is set to lose a piece of its town centre history at the end of the month when it loses its only motorcycle dealer.
Tony Reid, who founded A&J Motorcycles in Great Whyte as a 29-year-old in 1977, has decided the time has come to find something less strenuous to do after 33 years on the same site.
Born at Denton, near Stilton, Tony worked as a commercial vehicle fitter near Whittlesey before realising he had gone as far as he could in that field.
“Setting up this business seemed like a good idea at the time. I had always been interested in bikes and I couldn’t afford a car garage,” he told The Hunts Post.
“I started in a small rented shop, but they put a demolition order on that. So we bought the plot and put up this new building before the old one was pulled down.”
Over the years, he and his wife Janet, a partner in the business and the firm’s book-keeper, have employed full-time mechanics and trained apprentices.
Now back as a one-man operation, the Reeds have tried to sell the business as a going concern, but have fallen victim of bankers’ caution.
“A lot of people wanted to buy it, but the banks won’t lend,” he said. Instead, they have sold the building and don’t know what they new owners plan to do with it when it changes hands in the middle of February.
Before then, the shop is having a stock-clearance sale before Tony finally shuts the door on January 31.
“The 33 years have gone very quickly: we’ve had good times and bad times. But we’ve survived and I’ve enjoyed it,” Tony, now 62, said.
“I have got to know a lot of people, who are now friends, not just customers.
“And, now that I’ve lived in Ramsey for 41 years, I’m just about accepted here.”
For the future: “I’m going to get a new hip and then probably find something for two or three days a week – with nothing to do with motorcycles.
“And we’ve booked a cruise for the summer. It will be a wonderful change to get into a dinner suit instead of overalls.”
INFORMATION: A&J Motorcycles is at 110 Great Whyte, Ramsey until January 31: telephone 01487 813143.