spotlight on retail
Meet Rob Benson, owner of Tempest Bicycles
What’s something no one else in your industry is doing?
Every bike we make in the workshop, we actually hand back to the customer unpainted so they can see all the physical work and labour. So they know there’s no dirty little secrets hiding underneath the paint.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
Measure twice, cut once. Make sure everything’s the way it should be before you take the plunge.
What’s your favourite part of building a bike?
It’s actually the shortest part, which is brazing the frame. There’s maybe 10 or 20 hours of prep work before you get to that point, then maybe 20 minutes of actual brazing. It’s pretty zen, to just watch the metal melt. I just love building, period.
Expanding the business
“I got my first bike when I was four. My dad was an ex pro road racer. So I got into BMX.”
“I was into jumping down stairs, doing stupid stuff since I was knee-high.”
The Newcastle store is much smaller scale [than the shop in Dungog]. A friend of ours runs his own business, but on the side he’s heavily involved with cycling. We’re going to look after his clients, people that he rides with, along with people in Newcastle, and grow it from there.
As things get tighter and [bikes] get harder to get, we’re hopefully looking at doing a lot of stock frames in the workshop. We’ll be producing frames en masse.
MAKE IT FUN
“Any bike I own I ride it like a BMX and jump it up and down gutters.”
I like to see more people on bikes. Eventually we hope to have several stores, going from Newcastle through the Hunter Valley and all the way up to Dungog and obviously a mobile repair to support all of that as well.
Making room for opportunity
Bikes at the moment are scarce and hard to get. Everybody’s having a bit of a struggle at the moment to make sure that they have enough stock to keep them going. Bikes are insanely hard to get a hold of.
- Rob Benson
“It’s hard to navigate waters when you do not know what stock’s gonna come next week. Out of the blue we had bikes that I’d ordered 14 months ago turn up on the dock. And I’m like, ‘I’ve got to get the cash today.’
The Square loan gives us the opportunity to buy in bulk and make sure we’re good for the next few months. We’re trying to plan as best we can.”
I think it’s important that everybody has a bike that fits them, that they love. Especially for people that maybe don’t fit the norm. Maybe they’re 10 foot tall, and something off the shelf won’t work.
We have a bike library where local kids who don’t have access to a bicycle can come and get one from the store. They just sign up, and they can take out the bike when they want and they can enjoy the trails and hopefully not get into mischief.
It’s super important for my kids to ride bikes. My eldest, Max, is three-and-a-half. We usually ride three or four times a week and he sits on the front of my bike. He and I go mountain biking together and he loves it.
If we get people stoked on bikes, it puts a smile on their face. That’s all I want at the end of the day – just to do something good and give something back.
Tomorrow’s business is today’s plan. When you invest in your goals with Square Loans, the future of your business is a little more certain. Consider it an extra trick up your sleeve to build toward your dreams.
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