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Setting up a shop during the heart of a pandemic

Setting up a shop during the heart of a pandemic
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Setting up a shop during the heart of a pandemic
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

If you were going to think of the best time to open a shop, you probably wouldn’t choose the middle of a global pandemic when all bar essential shops have been forced to close their doors to customers. But this is the exact situation our customer in Chelmsford have found themselves in and, despite the enormous number of obstacles in their way, they’re all set up and excited to welcome shoppers when they’re allowed. 

Taking the plunge and opening a second business

Toni Imperi, owner of Eco Moto, is no stranger to the business world, having run his business, which sells motorcycles and scooters as well as other accessories that are used by the safety-conscious motorbike rider, at Waterhouse Business Centre in Chelmsford for the past seven years: ‘We like Capital Space because it’s a very secure building, with good security and it’s in a nice location. We sell high end products, so security is very important and it has a brilliant set up with lots of parking spaces as well. At the weekend, it’s completely empty, which is great for our customers.’

It was in 2020 that he decided to expand and set up another business, Eco Electric Bikes. ‘The eco-friendly bikes are good for younger people,’ Toni explains. ‘They have a smaller engine, and you plug in at night and go during the day. We have seen big companies like Deliveroo start to use them which is great for the environment and we hope as the delivery industry grows more companies adopt the electric bike approach.’

Expanding at the height of the pandemic

Toni took the ultimate decision to expand before Christmas and had everything set up, and then a lockdown was announced: ‘We spent a bit of money and upgraded the shop, making it bigger to fit clothes, helmets and everything a motorcyclist could need. We can’t wait to get people into the shop, to meet everyone, we’re so ready for customers to come in and see what we’ve got,’ describes Toni. The move was made easy as Capital Space were able to offer Toni a bigger unit without him having to relocate, saving him a lot of hassle.

The inability to welcome customers has, of course, taken its toll and, unfortunately, online sales are not the answer for Toni’s company: ‘The gear we sell is very important for the rider’s safety so we have to make sure it fits perfectly, otherwise it’s dangerous in the event of an accident.

‘As great as click-and-collect is, we have to prioritise our customers’ safety, we can’t just hand them a protective jacket and say, ‘See you later’. Helmets are the most important thing and some motorcyclists don’t know that they have an expiry date; you need to know that date and change it after a certain time and you’ll need advice on this. I always caution our customers that their helmets are only valid for three to four years and, after this, for their safety, the helmet will need to be changed.

Navigating through the coronavirus crisis

Despite the challenges that he’s faced throughout the past year, Toni is optimistic about the future: ‘I’m very proud of what I’ve done, even in the midst of a pandemic which has put a lot of businesses in danger. But our customer service has always been five-star and people always come back; we’ll always find something to suit your budget. Customer service is so crucial, and we offer variety, choice and advice.’

Toni and his team are busy preparing for the 12th April when, hopefully, non-essential shops can reopen and he can start serving motorcyclists again. If you’re looking for safe, eco-friendly motorcycles and accessories, then you need to look no further than Eco Moto and Eco Electric Bikes.

If you’d like to find out more about our flexible, adaptable office space located throughout the South East, then please get in touch.

To find out how Capital Space could benefit your growing business,

call 0800 107 4667 or email   info@capitalspace.co.uk