The last row of “mom and pop” shops along Vancouver’s famous Robson Street will be closing its doors this summer, and in doing so, will mark the end of an independent retail era.

Simon Coutts has owned and operated Simon’s Bike Shop at 608 Robson St. since 1986. Photo by Grant Lawrence

Between Granville and Seymour Streets, on Robson’s south side, you’ll find a one-storey 1914 building that still houses Simon’s Bike Shop. Recently, all the independent business on the block was served eviction notices for July 31, 2019, citing a demolition clause in their lease agreements.

Simon Coutts has owned and operated Simon’s Bike Shop at 608 Robson St. for an amazing 33 years, opening in 1986. He is one of downtown Vancouver’s last standing true retail characters, always shooting from the hip and quick with a story or a quip. He loves to talk.

Some of his customers over the years have included Robin Williams, Matthew Broderick and Pierce Brosnan. Coutts could apparently match wits with all of them.

He isn’t surprised at being served notice and, even though the development application has yet to be approved by the city, Coutts considers it a done deal.

“Alright, yes, it is a bit sad to be leaving,” Coutts eventually admitted. “I’ve been here for so long, and I’m the last bike shop in the downtown core. But I’ll negotiate, I’ll relocate, and I’ll still be downtown. I’ll be OK. I’ve sold bikes for a living to all walks of life for over 30 years. It’s an enjoyable thing to do. Do I look stressed to you?”

Bonnis Properties plans to build a 13-storey office tower on the site, with roughly half the retail space along Robson Street there currently is now.

Source: Vancouver is Awesome