Updated: Nov 25, 2020
2020 can most definitely be described as a bit of an odd duck! We all started the year full of hope and ready to take on our first full year of trade at our new home in Royston.
Less than 3 months in and a very large and dare we say, ugly spanner was launched into the collective gears causing untold damage to hopes and dream up and down the country.
It took us a few beats to come to terms with what was happening and working out what Plan B would look like. As it turner out Plan B was very much like plan A but with no reception chill-out zone or musicians carting their gear up and down the stairs. Other than that? no big deal! Right?
Holding firm on our nerves and waiting with baited breath, the motorcycle riding season started in late April (albeit on a very low key note as it was in slap bang in the middle of the 1st major lock down). To say it was a slow burn would be a bit of an understatement, but by the beginning of June the workshop was filling up and we had to re-learn new ways of working. There were a few frowns and growls while we figured out the best way of working and it is still being tweaked, but the we are getting better every day. With less than 4 weeks left in this trading year the workshop stayed the course and dealt with every motorcycle trauma that came through the door.
With just 19 Ducati's needing help, interspersed by 2 Cagivas and an MV Agusta with the quick shifter that just does not want to work for periods exceeding 2 weeks, the Italians behaved quite well this season. Honda on the other hand showed up to our shop door a whopping 72 times with a 1995 VFR recommission that gave the workshop a run for its money. There were also 57 Kawasaki's, 53 Suzuki's and 53 Yamaha's. Now it can be argued that the outcome of these stats can be attributed sane v insane and that only insane folks ride Italian but we cannot say for sure. As one of us rides a Ducati and the other two currently rides Suzuki it is best if we stay neutral in this debate.
We also had quite a few KTM's to work on and very often found the owners in despair over the latest mechanical catastrophe causing their wallets to cower in dark corners. We can only assume that they are yet to arrive in the mystical Zen zone where they can mingle with Italian motorcycle owners and simply accept that owning a KTM is not a cheap endeavour.
BMW, Triumph, 'Other' and Aprilia is next in line followed by a host of one off's of which the Douglas was the most trying on our collective patience. It is not that is was a difficult bike to work on, but procuring parts and getting existing parts repaired proved a challenge beyond imagination. It goes without saying that the pandemic most certainly compounded matters to levels that made all of us reach for the good whisky, but we prevailed. Our Douglas customer showed patience that would have qualified him for and Olympic gold medal and together with the aid of several others, Daran brought the Old boy back to life and kicking like a mule.
In the other parts of our business COVID was more strongly felt. For us the big looser in all of this COVID drama are the Rehearsal rooms. With pubs shut and bands not gigging there was just no need to rehearse, so the rehearsal rooms are sitting empty, like a new shiny toy that no one wants to play with. The reception build has also stalled and this too is directly attributed to the COVID pandemic.
That aside it was by and large a good year in business. We successfully applied for a premises license. We've had a VAT bill to pay for the last 2 quarters and no, our excitement over having to pay VAT is not borderline lunacy. It means that we are farming in the right direction and can one day expect to be in the black margin. We can also report 23.7% organic growth since September 2019 which we are told is not bad for a new start-up in the midst of a pandemic.
We are now winding down the year and we think it is fair to say that we did not do too badly. To celebrate this behemoth accomplishment 'management' begrudgingly agreed to put the Mechanical team away for 2 weeks over the Christmas season. We will be closed from 18 December 2020 and will come, out bats swinging on 04 January 2021, when hopefully the Rehearsal rooms and the reception can join the fray and help us to realise our full potential.
Enjoy the run up to Christmas