‘We knew it was unique and that kept us go­ing dur­ing the project’

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News -

to worry about the rain or snow, and you’re not go­ing to get peo­ple slip­ping off.

“It also means there’s less mess and it’s eas­ier to keep ev­ery­thing clean.”

The pair opted to lo­cate the com­plex close to the round­about out­side Moira to en­sure easy ac­cess for cus­tomers.

And in or­der to keep costs down, they did much of the work in build­ing the fa­cil­ity them­selves.

Gareth added: “We did most of the whole project our­selves, about 85% of it.

“We have a view­ing gallery, re­cep­tion, toi­lets, it was a mas­sive self-build, but we turned to our en­gi­neer­ing and con­tract­ing skills and be­tween the two of us we got it done.

“We started out in April and it was a real push be­cause we were keen to get the place opened dur­ing the sum­mer so we were do­ing 14-hour days six days a week.

“We ini­tially wanted to open within three months but it ended up tak­ing us about four and half months.

“The whole project prob­a­bly took about £400,000.”

Gareth owns a man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness in Ar­magh but, hav­ing in­her­ited the firm from his fa­ther, set­ting up E-trax NI was his first ex­pe­ri­ence start­ing a busi­ness from scratch.

De­spite this, they were op­ti­mistic they would make a suc­cess of their idea.

“We felt we could re­ally make a go of it,” said Gareth. “We weren’t copy­ing some­one else’s idea be­cause there is noth­ing else like it in Ire­land.

“There is one in Scot­land but we were re­ally keen to jump in quickly with the idea. It was dif­fi­cult, there was a lot of pres­sure to get the place open and get peo­ple through the doors dur­ing the sum­mer be­cause we be­lieved the win­ter would be the busiest time.

“To be hon­est, it was worth the ef­fort be­cause we had a three­month win­dow where we didn’t have to pay back any money. It was our time to get things up and run­ning.”

Aware of the num­bers of bike en­thu­si­asts, they knew it was im­por­tant to pub­li­cise the ex­is­tence of the busi­ness.

Gareth turned to his sis­ter, Lisa Purvis (35), who set up and runs their Face­book page, while a friend de­signed the com­pany’s web­site.

“We haven’t had to do any­thing else in terms of mar­ket­ing,” said Gareth.

“Mo­tocross is a big sport over here and it has a big fol­low­ing — we’re a na­tion of bik­ers with events like the Ul­ster Grand Prix and the North West 200.”

The one piece of ad­vice Gareth would give to oth­ers start­ing up their own busi­ness is to re­main fo­cused as much as pos­si­ble.

“We knew it was some­thing unique and that re­ally kept us go­ing through­out the whole devel­op­ment of the project,” he said.

“When it comes to man­u­fac­tur­ing, 10 peo­ple could make some­thing if they re­ally want to but we had some­thing we were re­ally pas­sion­ate about and we could see the po­ten­tial, and we were the only ones do­ing it.”

❝ Mo­tocross is a big sport over here and it has a big fol­low­ing — we’re a na­tion of bik­ers

Next week, the big in­ter­view speaks to mark price, Queen’ s Pro vice-Chan­cel­lor for en­gi­neer­ing and phys­i­cal sciences

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