It’s been a long while since I’ve had time to sit down and write a blog post and this is a biggie.
After much deliberation I have decided to take the big step of integrating my other shop in Farnham, East St Cycles with Hoops Velo. As many of you will know Hoops was a spin off from East St and our location secured a location for us regardless of what happened to the Woolmead. This Spring we got our new business rates bill for both stores and saw yet another increase. If you are unfamiliar with what this tax is, it’s the business version of your council tax bill minus a few services like refuse collection for example… Business rates in the UK are the highest in Europe, in fact they are as high as France and Germany combined. Who pays for this, well we pay and you do too as the costs of goods sold are impacted by overheads for the business selling to you. We’ve also seen increases in employers NI, the workplace pension scheme and like most of you increased costs in utility bills. With the Brexit vote and devaluation in sterling we saw some increases in the cost of products, some immediately and others still filtering through. Over the years I’ve often been asked if the suppliers take back the unsold stock, this doesn’t happen as we buy it all outright and as you can imagine it’s now going to be 5-15% more… why tell you all this because for the most part the impression I get is that most of my customers understand the importance or value the fact that we are a local business and appreciate that we are independent. I’m filling you in with the detail…
What’s the future and what are we up to now…. since the change I’m the road specialist in a specialist bike shop. In a business I created from scratch in 2004 and still love being the driving force behind. Hoops is still alive and kicking and when I’m out on my bike and see someone wearing our kit, I never ever fail to smile. It gives me such a buzz!
I’m actively looking for a site for Hoops 2, it will likely have a cafe element to it. If I don’t manage to pull that off, I’ll concentrate on building up Hoops online and operate out of the combined East St/Hoops location until I secure a standalone workshop/bike fit underground style bike shop.
Farnham has been good to me, I hope it continues. I really like being part of the town, all best Gary.