The Southampton branch of Oleander Cycles, victim of dwindling trade from tourists. *Photo by Simon Jones
The Southampton branch of Oleander Cycles, victim of dwindling trade from tourists. *Photo by Simon Jones

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7: Oleander Cycles will close down its Southampton branch office at the end of this month.

The Middle Road sales and rental centre has been hit by a decline in trade in tough economic times.

The three employees that run the branch will be moved to the Dockyard and Paget offices and no redundancies will be made.

Oleander General Manager Gregory Bluck told the Bermuda Sun that government’s inability to improve tourism numbers was to blame for the closure.

He said: “The reality is that Nine Beaches closed down years ago and that was a big part of our business.

“Most of the small guest houses are no longer servicing tourists and now Willowbank has closed too.

“Morgan’s Point has not come along and we really hoped that there would have been some progress with that in the last four years.

“We have been holding off and holding off but now the time has come to make the decision.

“It has been a great location for us over the years and it is sad that we have to close it.”

Oleander Cycles took over the Middle Road premises in Southampton in around 1996.

Over the years thousands of tourists have taken their first tentative steps on rental bikes there.

Mr Bluck added: “There will be no job losses.

“Two of the members of staff who work there will be moved to Paget while the third member of staff will move to Dockyard.

“We can service the west end of the island through our Dockyard branch and Paget will cover up to Barnes Corner.

“The sales side of the Southampton operation will be taken up by the Hamilton and Paget offices, which have our strongest inventories.

“No one likes to make adjustments like this but in these economic times demand is down and we have to make hard decisions.

“It will be sad to see a premises that has served us so well being closed down at the end of the month.”