And, after just a few months they opened their first shop premises in Portsmouth.
Tony Childs said the pandemic that struck not long after helped their business:
“We were one of the fortunate sectors that offered an essential service, so we were able to trade throughout lockdown. People didn’t have much to do other than walk or ride a bike. They were bringing in bikes needing repairs that had been in sheds and garages for a long-time, which really helped the business take-off.”
Graham and Tony did not stop at one shop; they opened two more located in Gosport and Southsea and won Small Business of the Year at the Business Excellence Awards 2022. They have also been chosen as the main servicing operation agent in Portsmouth for the popular Beryl Bikes.
Outset Start and Grow awarded them a business grant worth £9843.35 towards enhancing all three shops including new shopfront window graphics, staff uniform and tools for repairing the bikes.
“The grant was a huge help. It paid for costs that we would have struggled to cover at that time ourselves, enabled us to recruit 1.5 new members of staff and proceed much faster with our growth plans. It’s easier to take the risk of employing people when you know you have money coming in. We were also able to bring forward a re-branding exercise that we’d been planning for a while.”
Not only has joining the Outset Start and Grow programme helped GC Bike Repairs financially, but through its sister programme Get Set Solent has supported them improve other key aspects of the business.
“We certainly needed some help to improve our marketing. We attended workshops on digital marketing, branding and social media and Instagram, and they all offered lots of useful information and helped us fill gaps in our knowledge.”
So, what’s next for this ambitious enterprise?
“We plan to expand the business by opening three more shops every year from 2023 onwards. We have a straightforward model that works so it’s a case of rolling that out to more shops. It’s an aggressive expansion plan but it’s also controllable and manageable.”
This gives more happy customers access to their friendly and professional service, plus more shops means increased job opportunities for local people.
Find out more about GC Bike Repairs by visiting their website: gcbikerepairs.com
Find out more about how Outset Start and Grow can support your business to get off the ground or reach the next level.