BRISTOL – After over 40 years serving thousands as a local icon in skating and extreme sports for families and athletes alike, CT Bike & Skate is set to close its doors Sept. 27.
Headquartered at 80 South Street, the business is owned and run by Jim and Marie Parrott. The location has been described as a mom and pop business and has operated out of South Street since 1987. The owners previously ran a business in 1985 on Riverside Avenue before deciding to move for more space and the potential to construct a skate park.
When winters set in, skating and bike-related business slowed down so the Parrott family decided to turn to vending heating and lighting equipment service, dubbed Jim’s Better Heat and Light, as well, CT Bike & Skate previously told the Press.
CT Bike & Skate played host to a variety of competitions, video game events, music and more with riders visiting from as far away as Maine, Washington D.C. and Ohio.
According to an announcement on its Facebook page, the Parrott family stated it had sought to serve the “needs of the average kids,” some of those as young as four and five and those “too old for toys, too young cars.”
“It is with great pride we look back on our years in business and know the dramatic change for the good we have instilled in many of those kids, over all those years,” the family continued. “And it is with great sadness we will no longer receive the smiles and happiness we have gotten from our indoor skateboard park, the place that afforded kids somewhere to go be kids and grow and learn.”
From the Parrotts early beginnings with BMX racing, involvement with Bristol Civitan BMX Track, the National Bicycle League, having served as a BMX industry advisor and its sponsored riders, the family said their time running the business had been a great one. They noted many of their sponsored riders had also competed in freestyle competitions like the X Games.
“We had many skateboard and bike pros grace our ramps,” posted CT Bike & Skate. “Tony Hawk being our most famous skater, but all the big teams, like the Powell Peralta Team, came to CT Bike when they were on tour. A special thanks goes out to Ron Wilkerson for ramp plans and performing.”
Neil Curri shared a story under the CT Skate & Bike post saying that Jim had come to his town around 30 years ago to advocate for the creation of a skating spot “where the cops wouldn’t take our boards from us.” He noted the town was a 30-minute drive from the shop, however, the owner encouraged the town’s administration to consider that skating and biking were also worthy activities when compared with basketball or baseball and there should be a public space provided for them.
“We were little pricks to Jim sometimes, but we had no reason to trust any adults,” posted Curri. “Still, Jim clearly wasn’t just out to make a buck and I’ll never forget that night he came out to support us. I could say a lot more about how important that dusty sauna of a skatepark upstairs was to me as an adolescent but I’ll leave that for another time.”
He thanked the Parrotts for their support of area youth.
The shop will be selling off the remainder of its inventory until Sept. 27.