After 31 years of handbuilding bicycles, Serotta is closing its doors next month due to a lack of funding. Company CEO Bill Watkins told BikeRadar the company have already laid off 40 percent of its workforce and will lay off the remainder after fulfilling all remaining orders over the next two weeks.
Ben Serotta founded the company in 1972, and the brand became well known for its high-quality custom steel and titanium frames. The New York company expanded into making carbon fiber bikes, and sold custom and stock geometries.
Serotta sold the company in early 2012, to Bradway Capital, which in turned merged with the Divine Cycling Group this year. Watkins said that the company has recently been executing on an approved plan based on new funding from DCG, but that last Tuesday he was informed there will be no more funding. The DCG umbrella also incorporates Mad Fiber and Blue Competition Cycles.
"We were notified last Tuesday that all chances for funding had fallen through, and that they did not anticipate funding for at least 45 days," Watkins said. "I informed them that I would begin shutting down, laying off employees and looking toward the end."
Serotta have made a strong name in the industry with custom bikes
Serotta has stopped accepting new orders, except for product that is currently in stock.
"Right now we are working on keeping our heads high and honoring our commitments to our customers and our employees; we need to get everybody paid, and get bikes out," Watkins said. "We are communicating with our dealer network every day. It is not pretty, but even amidst crisis you can still act with dignity and responsibility, and that is what we are trying to do."
BikeRadar left a voice message for Brian Case, the original purchaser of Serotta and a member of the Bradway Financial board, but had not heard back from him at the time of publication.
"I don't know whether [the closing of Serotta] is permanent of temporary, but we have a two-week runway so we will have a nice, gentle landing," Watkins said. "I have no idea what the owners intend to do. But one day soon Ben and I will turn out the lights, leave the keys on the table and walk away."