The Dockrat family has been perfecting good business practices and great customer service for four generations.

The evidence lies in the fact that Solomon’s Cycles, which has locations in Pretoria and Johannesburg, recently opened a fourth branch in Durban due to popular demand.

Owner Arshad Dockrat says, “I had customers phoning me from Durban saying ‘I need someone to service my bike but I can’t travel as far as Pretoria, can’t you make a plan?'”

The cycle shop brand originally started out as a general dealer run by Dockrat’s great-grandfather Suleiman. Customers who frequented the shop kept calling him Solomon, and the name stuck to this day.

In 1999 the business, which had grown into a large department store, diversified into two divisions – Solomon’s Cycles, and Solomon’s Lifestyle and Fishing – the latter headed up by Arshad’s brother Rashid.

At the time the cycling division stocked mainly leisure bicycles.

The first Solomon’s Cycles, which officially became a speciality cycling store in 2000, occupied a floor space of 131 square metres.

In just three years, it expanded to a whopping 900 square metres.

In 2009, the family opened a second shop in Woodmead, Johannesburg.

The expansion, Dockrat notes, was driven by their commitment to bringing customers a wide selection of products at the best possible price.

“Because of how we’re structured, we can afford to buy in bulk, and offer our customers great deals.

“We stock everything a cyclist could need, from shoes to bikes and accessories, and when you’re spending a few thousand kitting yourself out and buying a bike, the savings really add up to a significant amount.”

Customers seem to be spoilt for choice when it comes to brands, and Arshad guesses that it is one of the reasons why they keep coming back.

“We cater for everyone from your beginner cyclist to pro.”

While most cycle shops in the country are headed up by ex-pros, semi pros and passionate amateurs, Arshad laughs and says he would like to ride more than he currently does.

His real passion is seeing the massive positive impact cycling has on his customers.

“You’ll get someone coming into the store saying they’re thinking of getting a bike because they don’t have energy and they’re not sleeping well.

“After a few months of cycling they return and they’re a totally different person.

“They rave about how great they feel and how they’ve lost weight. For me, that’s really rewarding.”

He foresees cyclists really enjoying his newest South Coast venture, with the help of a few tweaks to his formula for success.

The Durban store, which opened earlier this year, places the workshop closer to the door and features it more prominently in the shop.

“Cycling retail is not just about selling bits and pieces anymore, it’s servicing the client and keeping his bike in top shape.”

To give customers a premium service experience, Dockrat prides himself on finding mechanics who boast specific skills and extensive experience.

“People who work for us know we’re an established family business and, when you join the business, you join the family.

“Most of our mechanics have well over seven years’ experience and I look for skills like shock servicing, great wheel-building and being able to properly service disc brakes. Our staff stay with us for many years.”

The flagship Durban store, which features upmarket shop fittings in keeping with the high-profile brands it sells, will also stock three cycling brands that are not widely available in their other stores; namely Merida, Cervelo and the ASG-exclusive import, Pinarello.

Customers can also look forward to meeting store manager Yusuf Kadwa, who is not only a school friend of Dockrat’s, but a keen triathlete and knowledgeable about everything from nutrition to training programmes.

Solomon’s Cycles Durban is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm, and on Saturdays from 8am to 1pm. On the last Sunday of every month, it trades from 9am to 1pm.

Issued by:

Full Stop Communications

Coetzee Gouws
082 575 7991
041 368 4992

On behalf of:

Cyclingnews & ASG Events