For almost 80 years people have come to Smith Cycle to either purchase a bicycle or have one repaired. We’ve kept Chatham-Kent rolling along for three generations and it almost goes without saying that when you need something bicycle related, you go to Smith’s. We are Chatham-Kent’s bike store.
It all began with Norton Smith in 1932. A man of great entrepreneurial spirit, Norton purchased an old, run-down inn on Thames Street in Chatham. It took a considerable investment of sweat equity but he eventually realized his dream of establishing an automotive service station and motorcycle shop. After World War II ended he had great success selling used motorcycles that he purchased from the army and refurbished for civilian use. When the source for these eventually dried up, he felt there was a similar market for doing the same thing with bicycles. After developing a strong relationship with CCM in Weston, ON, he added new bicycles to the product mix and things just took off from there.
After practically growing up around the business, Norton’s son Winston entered the picture adding his own unique vision and ideas to the store. One of his greatest contributions to the company was extensive building and property renovations that modernized the look and layout of the store. Broadening product inventory by adding several other brands such as Norco, Nishiki, Peugeot and Sekine to the mix would help widen consumer appeal to the shop. But, it was his reputation as a just and upright businessman and his genuine rapport with customers that gave Smith Cycle great credibility in the cycling community.
It was similar circumstance that baptized Todd into the two-wheel faith. Having been born into a life full of bikes, his career began with sweeping floors, washing windows and dusting bikes after school and every Saturday. It was a great opportunity to learn the ropes from the best instructor around. Eventually, armed with a Commerce degree from McMaster University, it was decided that a view of the industry from the supply side might be beneficial and Todd landed a position with Norco Products, Canada’s leading bicycle, parts and accessories supplier.
It only took two years for this small city man to realize that while Toronto might be a fun place to visit, it wasn’t a desirable place for him to live. Once again he was back in business in Chatham and took over the helm when Winston retired in 1996. Together with Matt Ytsma, his “number one” who has been faithfully working with him since 1998 and has yet to find a bike he can’t fix, they enter the new millennium with a fresh page of ideas and visions of where to take Smith Cycle next. Who knows what the future will hold? One thing we can tell you…it’s solidly balanced on two wheels.
The Smith family thanks you so much for your continued support over the past 80 years. Without your patronage and backing none of this would have been possible.
- Norton, Winston, Todd, Smith Cycle