Melbourne’s bayside suburb of Brighton is well known as a cycling destination. Its scenic Beach Road is recognised as one of the busiest cycling roads in the world.
However there’s one bike shop in Brighton where customers would never be caught wearing lycra – Brighton Bikes & Bits.
Established in 1968, Brighton Bikes & Bits is one of the oldest motorcycle stores in Australia. Current owner James Patrick, who took over the store three years ago, wasn’t even born when the business began.
We caught up with James recently to chat bikes and business. We were keen to find out what drew him to becoming a business owner.
“I started working here about six years ago as a sales assistant,” says James, “and worked my way up to the manager’s role. Three years ago I took over the business and now I own it.”
So what got him interested initially?
“I’ve been racing motorcycles for about eight years,” says James. “So I probably wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t doing that. The fact that I can race bikes on the weekend, and be here during the week talking about and working on them, really drives the passion.”
As we chat to James a dog wanders nonchalantly between the bikes in the store. It’s his Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Indy.
“We’ve had a dog here for four years,” explains James as he scoops Indy up onto his lap. “My mechanic’s dog is a Staffy. So I got a Staffy as well. Love ’em.”
So we know James loves his bikes and his dogs, but what about his bookwork?
“I actually did the bookkeeping for 12 months, but I’m no bookkeeper so I wasn’t the best at it! We use MYOB AccountRight here. It’s really easy to use, especially for paying bills and all the staff.”
Out the back of the store is the workshop and parts storage area, where James has an astonishing 33,000 items of stock. We asked him how he’d cope managing that inventory without MYOB AccountRight. All he could do was laugh.
We put the conversation on hold for a moment as James helps a leather-clad customer on the hunt for a part for an old bike he’s restoring. As the customer departs, part in hand, James smiles. It’s easy to see he loves his work.
When talking about his love of motorcycles, James’ smile broadens. He tells us he began his career as an industrial designer and that as well as riding and repairing bikes, he has also designed them.
He’s a fan of pretty much every type of motorcycle sport and has several trophies for state and club championships. But despite all this, it’s being able to work with and help fellow bike enthusiasts that he finds most rewarding.
“We kind of do everything,” says James. “We fix bikes, we upgrade them, we service them, we sell riding gear, accessories and all your spare parts so you can look after it yourself. Pretty much anything to do with bikes really!”
If you’re mad about motorbikes be sure to stop by for a chat with James and the team at 817 Nepean Hwy, Brighton East, Victoria.
Manage your business – your way
MYOB AccountRight is powerful online accounting that gives James the flexibility to work on his accounts at the bike shop or remotely. It can be used to manage invoices and quotes, keep track of jobs and inventory, and manage suppliers.
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This article was originally published in the second edition of MYOB’s broadsheet, Insights, also available on iPad.