Cathedral offers the perfect spot to exercise a giraffe!

City Cycle Centre manager, Andrew Olley, exercising his giraffes

City Cycle Centre manager, Andrew Olley, exercising his giraffes - Credit: City Cycle Centre

It used to be if you went down in the woods today, you would be sure of a big surprise. 

But in Ely the chances are you might experience the same level of surprise at the cathedral – especially if Andrew Olley is about ‘exercising’ his giraffes! 

The enterprising manager is well known for running City Cycle Centre – but it’s the shop’s award-winning toy department that continue to attract plaudits from happy customers.  

And to ensure everyone is aware of Andrew’s idiosyncratic marketing skills, you never know what to expect.  

"Sometimes, after work, Mr Olley takes the giraffes out to graze on Palace Green"

"Sometimes, after work, Mr Olley takes the giraffes out to graze on Palace Green" - Credit: City Cycle Centre

So, finding him on Palace Green with three giraffes was never likely to surprise – only delight passers-by.  

His creative promotional skills have put his store’s soft toys centre piece of his advertising.  

“Well, I think it was started in lockdown and I was trapped in the shop on my own with soft toys for company,” he said.  

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“I think I went a tiny little bit crazy!”.  

"Don't tell the cathedral, but our giraffes absolutely love their flower displays"

"Don't tell the cathedral, but our giraffes absolutely love their flower displays" - Credit: City Cycle Centre

He said: “We reached a lot of people during lockdown; a lot of people were supporting local businesses.  

“We developed our own business style; a lot of toy shops have taken interest in what we’re doing and doing it themselves.  

“It’s been flattering watching them doing it too.  

“Hopefully we appeal to our local community and have some resonance with them.”  

The store has five departments; toys, craft, cycles, models and DIY. 

"It's early morning. The sun is out. Let's skateboard with penguins!"

"It's early morning. The sun is out. Let's skateboard with penguins!" - Credit: City Cycle Centre

And as Mr Olley is first to observe, sometimes after work he takes the giraffes out to graze on Palace Green. 

City Cycle Centre is located in the centre of the city. 

The family-run shop says Mr Olley says is staffed by enthusiasts. 

The store is proud that its toy department is forever winning local awards and plaudits.

The City Cycle Centre penguins get together for a kickabout

The City Cycle Centre penguins get together for a kickabout - Credit: City Cycle Centre

City Cycle Centre began trading in 1970 and celebrated its 50th year in 2020 – the year lockdown began.  

The store operates out of what was once the local post office and has remained a family run business all that time selling bikes, toys, haberdashery, models and DIY products.  

Mr Olley is proud that the inspiration for their store is their customers – who never know quite what to expect next.