NORFOLK, VA. (September 21, 2022) – Retail Alliance is proud to announce that Village Bicycles is the recipient of their 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award, kindly sponsored by TowneBank.

This award, now in its 10th year, recognizes one retailer in Hampton Roads for their passion for their customers, their level of service, longevity, financial success, and community service. Owner of Village Bicycles, Walt Gardner, fulfills all these traits and will be presented the award at Retail Alliance’s Retailer of the Year award ceremony on September 22 at the Virginia Air & Space Science Center in Hampton.

“Walt has a long history with the brand and the bike industry,” Ray Mattes, President/CEO of Retail Alliance, said. “From taking a summer job in the ‘70s to running it for three years as a Conte’s franchise in the mid-2000s, and finally reverting back to Village Bicycles to run it independently in 2009, Walt has been a driving force of Village Bicycles’ endurance and success.”

“The part I really enjoy about the job is the people,” Walt Gardner, owner of Village Bicycles, commented. “You never know who you’re going to meet. I’m focused on the customers and making sure I’ve got the parts to repair the bikes. Every day is a new experience for me. And being a people person, the people that I meet most of the times, they start out as customers and become longtime friends.”

When it comes to giving back to his community, Village Bicycles is involved with local racing clubs and sponsoring races. They also work with the Oyster Point Rotary Club on a charity every year where they give away about 100 to 150 bikes at Christmas time. They’re given to kids through the Housing Authority because they wouldn’t have the means to get a new bike for Christmas.

“Winning this award is a little overwhelming, in all honesty,” Gardner said. “I mean, it’s not something that I ever thought would happen in my lifetime. I’ve certainly tried to do the best job that I can in a local neighborhood bike shop. So, being rewarded for something that you love to do is pretty awesome.”

Walt doesn’t plan to stop running the business any time soon. “At my age, I’d love to be still doing it 15 years from now, but I would like for Village Bicycles to continue, whether it’s with me or with the next owner.”

More information about the Retailer of the Year awards can be found here.

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About Retail Alliance

Retail Alliance is a non-profit trade association serving the interests of local retailers in Hampton Roads since 1903. The organization promotes and supports the healthy growth of retail businesses and trade through education, advocacy, and member benefits.

The Lifetime Achievement Award looks at various criteria covering longevity, profitability, community involvement, reputation; visual merchandising; aesthetics; they also need to be a retail merchant. Previous winners are 2021 – Taylor’s Do it Center; 2020 – Hauser’s Jewelers; 2019 – Norma Dorey (Changes City Spa); 2018 – Willis Furniture; 2017 – W.T. Patrick & Sons; 2016 – Decorum Furniture; 2015 – Goodman & Sons; 2014 – Dan Ryan (Dan Ryan’s for Men); 2013 – Mary Barnett (Mary Barnett’s).