A FAMILY-owned business has beaten the gloom of recession and held a celebration to mark 60 successful years in Exeter.
Bridge Motorcycles put on its biggest event in years last week to celebrate its milestone birthday with a party bike night.
And about 1,000 bike enthusiasts turned up to celebrate.
The company was started by JM Anthony and first opened in 1953 in Exeter's Okehampton Street. The Bridge name comes from its first location.
The business moved to Marsh Barton in 1997, and while it remains an independent family business, it is now the South West's biggest multi-franchise motorcycle dealers for Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda, Triumph and Kawasaki Motorcycles as well as Piaggio Scooters, Vespa Scooters and Gilera Scooters.
Director Lee Anthony said the company was overwhelmed with the success of the anniversary celebration and praised its staff and customers.
"It's fantastic to see such a great turnout and I don't think I've ever seen so many bikers here," he said.
"Sixty years is a long time and we're still an independent family run business – there's not a lot of us around now in this industry.
"My father's here tonight, he has worked in the business for 50 years, and I hope my grandfather is looking down and is really proud of what we've achieved.
"But we couldn't achieve any of this without our customers, and for that we are really grateful.
"We'll continue to offer great customer service and look after our customers and their biking needs for another 60 years.
"None of this would be possible without our customers and also none of it would be possible without our staff – we've got a great team here and we really appreciate what they do."
Bridge has more than 700 new and secondhand motorbikes and scooters for sale in Devon, including the latest models.
It also stocks a huge range of motorcycle accessories, motorcycle helmets, motorcycle leathers and motorcycle clothing.
The company said it is committed to serving the motorcycling community and supports local motorcycling groups and charities. It promotes motorcycling as an "exciting, enjoyable, economical, environmentally-friendly and safe form of transport".
Marketing manager and event organiser Martin Veale said the celebration had been a great success.
"We knew that the event was going to be busy, but we didn't anticipate it being as busy as it was," he added.
"We had to think on our feet with the bike parking when the car park filled up but it all worked out well in the end.
"The atmosphere was really nice and with over 1,000 people here the party atmosphere lasted through until the end."
The next Exeter Bike Night, and the last one of 2013, takes place at Bridge on Thursday, September 26, from 6pm to 9pm.