SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY (BRAIN) — As the Serotta bicycle company fulfills final orders and prepares to shut down bike production here, founder Ben Serotta said he intends to continue making bikes, under his name or another.
"It was a 60-degree, brilliant sunny morning this morning, and I was out on my bike before work, and I thought, 'OK, this is why I do this. How lucky am I?' " Serotta told BRAIN on Wednesday. "This is a great business to be in. Every time I go out on a damn bicycle I get fully recommitted."
"I ... will be able to build bikes another day." — Ben Serotta
Serotta said he no longer owns any part of the company or brand that he launched 41 years ago.
Last month, Serotta was merged with Blue Competition Cycles and Mad Fiber Wheels to become the Divine Cycling Group. But the merger did not bring with it any increase in funding for the already-struggling company and Serotta's managers soon concluded they needed to shut down.
"We had absolutely no choice. We had to face all the truths, and the truth is that unless something changes the best we can promise anyone, including ourselves, is that we will honorably complete the orders on hand," Serotta said.
DCG officials have not responded to phone calls and emails from BRAIN seeking comment.
But Serotta said he and CEO Bill Watkins have been negotiating to "extricate" the Serotta brand from DCG.
"Nothing against Mad Fiber or Blue, but as soon as it was obvious that we were, collectively, in a bit of hurt, we wanted to pull Serotta out. We believe we have a viable plan to carry the company forward."
"In my view, one way or another, I, and likely some of the dedicated crew here, will be able to build bikes another day. When that would be and what those bikes might be called, I can't say.
"I remain optimistic, for no particular reason other than that I am hardheaded, as are our craftsmen on staff," he said.