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