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                       1917 stapleton                                              1948 delivery truck

"Located on Jewett Avenue in Westerleigh, Bennett’s Bicycles is one of the oldest family run businesses on Staten Island. Featured in The Historic Shops and Restaurants of New York, Bennett’s has been selling bicycles on Staten Island since 1896.

The first store was opened by George Bennett on Richmond Avenue and Richmond Terrace in Port Richmond. George sold more than just bikes; he also sold baby carriages, treadle sewing machines and gaslight fixtures.

His grandson, Nicholas, moved the business to Tompkins Avenue in Stapleton in 1933. Nicholas also began renting bicycles for 25 cents a day to people wanting to enjoy a day of riding but could not or did not want to buy a bicycle.

He first started to rent bicycles at his new location in Stapleton. It proved so popular, he started renting bicycles in Midland Beach, Travis, New Dorp and New Brighton. They continued to rent bikes into the 1950s, and, throughout all those years, Bennett’s provided “roadside service,” fixing bikes of renters and customers alike. They even drove all the way to Brooklyn once to pick up a bike.

Perhaps one of the most important delivery dates was Christmas Eve. They would work until almost midnight, trying not to awake the sleeping children as they slipped the bikes under Christmas trees just like Santa.

A word to the wise, don’t try to assemble the bike yourself. I tried one Christmas Eve, and, after finishing around 3 a.m., I found several pieces left over — I don’t think they sold me extra pieces!

In 1956, the fourth generation — George J. Bennett — moved the business once more, this time to their current location at 517 Jewett Ave. Today, the business is run by fifth generation of Bennetts and features a full line of bicycles and accessories, including helmets, clothing and even baby seats.

How has this family owned business stood the test of time through two world wars, the great depression and countless recessions? Well, it wasn’t easy. Sometimes there wasn’t much left in the cash register at the end of the day, but they persevered through hard work, sacrifice and with a little ingenuity thrown in.

For example, during World War II, when most critical materials were used for the war effort, Nicholas built and repaired bikes with old parts — they never let their customers down." SI LIVE