Established back in the 1940s, Woodrup Cycles’ Stephen Woodrup talks to BikeBiz about moving with the times…

Bike Dealer Profile: Woodrup Cycles

Can you tell us a bit about Woodrup’s history?
We go back a long way. My father started the business in Leeds in 1949, so we’ve been going for over sixty years. The business was built on hand building custom race frames – and retail, obviously – and I started in the trade forty-odd years ago.

I was partner with my father for a number of years and now my son Stephen Woodrup has come into the business. He’s been a partner with me for a while now, so we’re a family business. Both my mum and dad were in the industry and we’ve always been interested in cycling and members of cycling clubs.
We rebuilt the shop three years ago and tripled in size.

How’s business?
We’re very busy. This last year was our biggest ever – it was absolutely manic and this year is shaping up to be equally good, if not our best ever. We’re extremely lucky that the bike business seems to do well in times of recession.

Are any particular sectors performing well?
In Leeds, the commuter area has grown massively. There’s a lot more people using bikes to go to and from work. Road is strong too – we’ve always had a lot to do with the cycling clubs and I still compete, myself.

But the growth area has really been in the workshop. That has gone absolutely mental over the last few years.
Our shop is a double unit. We used to lease out the shop next door, but when the chap retired we enlarged the main shop, taking over the previously leased space, which is now our workshop. We have five full-time staff in the workshop now.

Do you do much business online?
We haven’t done much up to now. It’s something that we’re contemplating going into and that’s one of the reasons why we made contact with Cybertill, as a first step into developing our online presence. It’s not a big part of our business, as yet.

So you’ve installed Cybertill EPoS?
We have indeed. I’m a bit old school, but my son is looking to move the business forward and as I say we’re looking at online. The system also looks after things like stock management. I’m getting my head round it. The business has to move forwards and Anthony is in the driving seat for that.

Do you get involved with local events?
Myself and Anthony are members of the Yorkshire Road Club, which is an old established club and probably the biggest in Leeds. I’m more into road cycling, but Anthony is into mountain biking, so we cover everything between us.

How many staff do you have overall?
There are eight of us here in total.

What are your aims for the business?
Possibly to sell more online in the future, but generally just to see the business grow.

We’ll probably enlarge the frame building side of the business. We already send frames to Germany and the US and all over the place – it’s what the business was originally based on. We re-employed a chap who used to work with us years ago who has expertise in frame building. We build in steel and we’ve seen the material make a big come back over the past few years.
We do a lot with the University of Leeds too. They lease bikes to the students and we supply and service all the bikes. We also go on campus on an advisory basis once a week and do small maintenance jobs there. It’s almost growing into a business on its own. It’s done very well.

Generally, I can’t remember having a bad year, luckily we’ve always done quite well. We’ve been around for sixty years and the market changes very rapidly. You’ve got to keep on top of it and keep driving onwards.

Telephone: 0113 263 6212
Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm, closed Sunday
Address: 345-347 Kirkstall Rd, Leeds, LS4 2HD

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