10 Years Older and Wiser for Paul Smeeton’s Bitz for Bikes

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In these hard financial times, it is a breath of fresh air to hear of a local independent business motivated by passion and expertise, exceeding on a National level in a competitive market in both online and offline activity.

Former Co-operative Store in Spotland, Rochdale

As a biker for over 30 years and driven by enthusiasm, expertise and knowledge, Paul has taken an interesting business route to the position he currently occupies.

For businesses operating in niche markets, the element of knowledge and experience is important. A focused, refined portion of a market can represent a great opportunity for growth. Unfortunately this opportunity for growth is seldom realised, and most businesses operating within such niche working arenas often feel the pinch of low demand pretty quickly.

With this in mind, the decade of growth and achievement experienced by Paul Smeeton’s Rochdale based and privately owned motorcycle spares retailer Bitz for Bikes is all the more impressive.

As a biker for over 30 years and driven by enthusiasm, expertise and knowledge, Paul has taken an interesting business route to the position he currently occupies.

Paul's first Motorcycle business was formed in 1980 as a motorcycle parts breaker from a large garage at the bottom of his garden. As stock levels grew, the confined space of the garage became a catalyst for a new business direction, and a first foray into niche business management with Paul Smeeton’s LC Heaven, which focused solely on the popular Yamaha 350 and 250 LC’s.

Ever the entrepreneur, and with LC and YPVS models nearing the end of their manufactured life Paul made the somewhat early move into E-Commerce and in 2000 the concept for Bitz for Bikes was realised, as an online retailer for motorcycle parts and spares.

The next decade would see the business increase turnover ten-fold, outgrow 3 successive premises, increase staffing numbers to 8 full time employees and improve stock levels to a level where today you can reach over 240,000 items in website stock, with the site specialising in Chains and Sprockets.

The Bitz for Bikes business currently resides in a purpose-redeveloped former base of another successful Rochdale business - Co-Operative group. The Co-Operative built the structure in 1888, and it was the second location to ever house a Co-Operative store, following the company’s birth in 1850.

It is a twist of fate therefore that such hallowed history and success of another successful, yet humble business is etched on the walls of the building Bitz for Bikes now calls home.

The Bitz for Bikes growth shows no sign of slowing, and in 2010 with some 450,000 customers culminating in an average 3 orders per hour, this story should be viewed as a shining light for independent small business in the UK.

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