LEARNING CURVE | Action Cycles clocks 30 years of serving Bay

Action Cycles co-partner Dave Mc Ewan in his shop.
Action Cycles co-partner Dave Mc Ewan in his shop.
Image: Eugene Coetzee/The Herald

Action Cycles has been meeting the needs of cyclists in Nelson Mandela Bay for more than 30 years.

Owners Garth Botha, 54, and Dave McEwan, 47, have always believed in offering the best advice and service to their customers and that is why they refer to themselves as the No 1 bike shop in Port Elizabeth.

Please share some background on yourself and how the business was started   

Action Cycles was first opened in 1985 by John Webb.

Garth Botha ran the shop from the beginning.

After two years, Botha bought Action Cycles from John Webb.

The business was in 9th Avenue, Main Road, Walmer, in those days.

We then moved to the Star Bakery, where we were situated until 1994.

Botha then purchased a property at 97 Heugh Road where Action Cycles has been for 25 years now.

Botha approached Dave McEwan to join him as co-partner in the business after McEwan sold his farm.

After various meetings, McEwan decided to join the business and become co-partner.

We have done a number of brands over the years, such as Fuji, Trek, Giant, Panasonic, Avalanche.

We took on Specialized about 20 years ago and have grown from strength to strength with this incredible brand.

We also took on Silverback 19 years ago, which has also formed part of our main selling brand.

We believe having too many brands confuses customers.

We have always believed in offering the best advise and service to our customers and that is why we refer to ourselves as the “No1 bike shop in PE.” 

What is your core service? 

We sell bicycles and bike accessories.

We also do bike repairs and maintenance.

What makes your business unique?

Action Cycles is a one-stop cycle and tri-shop, where you will meet all your cycle needs.

If someone wanted to copy your business model, how would they start? 

The most important thing is to have knowledge of the cycling industry before trying to start your own business.

You must know as much as you can about how bikes operate and what they need.

What are some of the biggest inhibitors your business faced before getting off the ground? 

We were fortunate in that we took over an already running, successful bicycle shop.

Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs or new business owners? 

Knowledge is key and keep persevering, and stay ahead with the latest trends.

What are some of your biggest challenges in day-to-day business operations and your particular industry?  

Our biggest challenge is stock availability.

What is the best advice anyone gave you on success? 

Hard work and dedication always pays off.

How do you measure or define success in your business?

Having happy customers is always paramount to our ongoing success — when our clients are happy then we know that we have done a great job.

A positive cash flow is also a success measure in our business.

What are some of the best practices that have made your business successful? 

To employ the right staff is a key factor.

Staff must have a knowledge of cycling equipment so that they are able to assist our customers with their needs.

What kind of advertising do you do? 

We advertise on social media and we go to sporting events to advertise as well.

What is your company’s vision?  

To be the best cycle shop that we possibly can be, and be able to meet all cycling needs.

What is your target market?  

Cyclists of all ages.

What have some of your highlights been in running your business?  

Our highlight has been the revamp of Action Cycles that we did in 2019, that was a big one for us.

How important is social media and an online presence for your business? 

Social media is very important for our business, that is where we reach clientele.

How many people do you employ? 

We have 10 employees.

Do you have any plans for expanding the business, and how would you go about this? 

We are in the process of expanding and opening chain stores in other major centres in the Eastern Cape.

How did you acquire funding for the business? 

We took a loan with a bank.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from your business journey so far? 

Customer service is of utmost importance — it’s not about the first sale but rather the customer returning for the next — a happy customer is a returning customer.

What have been the greatest challenges and advantages of running your business in a city like PE? 

The advantages of running a business like ours here are that PE customers are very fitness conscious and hosting the Ironman in our city helps us a lot.

What do you believe are the three key traits of a successful entrepreneur? 

A successful entrepreneur must be hands-on in the business, have knowledge about the product they are selling and be passionate and driven by what they do.

What do you believe are the key traits of a successful employer? 

A successful employer must always lead by example, be fair, and listen to advice from employees.

What do you wish people knew about your industry? 

There is a big difference between cycling as a sport and running a cycling business.

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