One of the bicycle industries most colourful and best known retailers died on Wednesday 14th October aged 71. Robert Sepping, known by all reps and customers as ‘Bob’, took over Universe Cycles on Church Street Parramatta from his father Alan Sepping and proceeded to build what was at one time one of the largest bicycle retail chains in Australia.
Bob was born on 3rd November 1943. He joined the NSW Police and loved working there, but was eventually persuaded by his father to come into the family bike shop.
At the time there were three stores in the Universe Cycles group.
Bob expanded the business from his long term main store in Church St Parramatta to encompass about several more smaller shops spread throughout Sydney.
Then in 1997 he made a major investment in opening his first ‘Universe Bikes R Us’ mega store a couple of kilometres up the road from his headquarters.
The store covered 2,500 square metres with capacity to display 2,400 bicycles.
At least one other mega store in the southern suburbs followed, but both stores were relatively short lived.
One man still in the bicycle industry who knew Bob well is Greg Williams who now owns Windsor Cycles north-west of Sydney.
“I worked for Bob for 13 years,” Greg recalled. “Whenever wholesale sales reps were having a bad week, they’d always say ‘We’ll go to Seppo’s’ because he’d always give them an order for something.”
“Bob had been sick for a while. Then he had a heart attack on Tuesday.” (13th October)
Bob is survived by his wife Val, sons Stewart, Andrew and John and daughters Joanne and Lyn, along with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.