Bad day at work prompts gear change for Hackney local
A rubbish experience buying a bike and a bad day at work was just the motivation Ciaran Carleton needed to open his own bike shop.
The 33-year-old, who worked at Paul Smith in Covent Garden, used to cycle to work every day from his home in Stoke Newington but had little experience of cycling beyond that.
Now he runs Push, one of Hackney’s most popular bike shops – and his Mum and Dad live in the flat upstairs (and occasionally bring him lunch!).
They’re one of over 130 businesses offering discounts to Local Buyers Club members (discount cardholders can save 10% on all products and workshop services. Details here).
“I used to look after Paul Smith’s bike at work and pump up his tyres – we got chatting one day and, when I told him I wanted to open a bike shop, he gave me some advice"
Ciaran said: “I remember buying a bike and thinking how rubbish bike shops were – I spent around £400 and was really excited, it felt like a big deal but the guy who served me was a bit rubbish. At Paul Smith when people came in to buy a suit we’d give them a free drink and make it more of an experience.
“Then one day, after a bad day at work I thought – that’s it, I’m going to quit and open a bike shop.”
Ciaran, who was just 25 when he opened the shop in Newington Green, took out a £70,000 business loan from HSBC to buy the stock and fit out the shop. He was lucky enough to be accepted as a Specialized stockist and quickly signed up for a bike maintenance course.
He added: “I used to look after Paul Smith’s bike at work and pump up his tyres – we got chatting one day and, when I told him I wanted to open a bike shop, he gave me some advice on lighting and on how moving the stock around in the shop each week would help regular customers spot products they hadn’t seen before.
“Taking out such a big loan was daunting – I thought if it goes wrong I’ll sell it all on E-bay.
“Business is good but there are always challenges. Since we opened in 2009 seven other bike shops have opened within a mile, many have since closed – it does feel volatile and it’s frustrating when people come into the store to browse and then buy on Amazon.”
Ciaran, who has a three-year-old daughter, has lived in Stoke Newington his whole life. One of his brothers is a graphic designer and he came up with the name and the brand.
Push organises regular Sunday morning cycles to Epping Forest and plays a big role in the local community.
As well as selling a range of bikes and accessories, they offer bespoke and vintage bikes and a repairs and maintenance service.
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