Happy Days Cycles: “We’re looking forward to another busy year getting to know our community’s needs”

Happy Days Cycles’ Jonny Graham tells Rebecca Morley how the shop raises money to support its Community Living schemes, which provide supported accommodation for the homeless

This piece first appeared in the July edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here

Happy Days Cycles is a different sort of bike shop, raising money to support its Community Living schemes which provide supported accommodation for the homeless. It sells, repairs and services bikes and is “very much a place where it’s about all people on all bikes, with staff that make you want to get out and ride, and a shop that puts a smile on the face of every visitor and customer” – that’s how it was described when it was nominated for Best IBD in last year’s BikeBiz Awards.

“We’re a CIC (Community Interest Company) business, affiliated to Happy Days Homeless Charity based in Halifax,” shop manager Jonny Graham told BikeBiz. “Our profits go towards the charity to help about 100 residents in supported accommodation in and around the Calderdale area. We sell new and pre-loved bikes that are donated by the local community, doing them up to a sellable level to spread the gospel of cycling and its benefits.”

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Happy Days Cycles had to start stocking new bikes since its donated bikes dried up considerably, with people using their bikes to get out and cope with the pandemic. “Spare parts were obviously an issue, as for everyone, and the supply chain issues that evolved, though we do have spares parts bins of many second hand bits that filled some gaps. From a business perspective, there was an increase in customers and sales as people looked for some mechanisms to deal with the pandemic.”

The Happy Days Homeless Charity supports about 100 residents in accommodation, taking them off the streets and giving them opportunities to better their lives and skills to get them back into a better place to deal with society. Happy Days Cycles has recently partnered up with Christians Together Calderdale, explained Graham, who provide food banks and emergency accommodation to get people off the streets immediately.

On how retail has changed over recent months, Graham said: “From our perspective, it seems to be business as usual, with donations coming in regularly and supply chains getting back to somewhere near normal. We’re selling mostly preloved bikes and a few new ones but requests for e-bikes are becoming more frequent, as are the requests to repair them. Currently, we don’t have the sparky skills for anything beyond the usual cycle maintenance scope.

“Having become the shop team just over a year ago, we’re looking forward to another busy year getting to know our community’s needs, increasing our customer base after a not so great previous reputation and providing some assets for the local needs. We’re currently in the early stages of the process of proposing renovating an overgrown cycle speedway track into a pump track.

“For the wider industry, resolving the supply chain issues would be paramount. E-bikes are obviously are large growth area and it’s something we don’t really address at the minute.”

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