Engines of growth: World Distributors open new outlet
“When are you opening?” called out a man on a motorbike.
Driving along Washington Street, he had spotted World Distributors President Eugene Bothello standing outside his newly renovated commercial space, just as new business signs were being hung in place. He called back: “Now, mate! Come on in!”
And despite a ‘soft’ opening, the engines were on full throttle on Monday afternoon at the new World Distributors location on the corner of Dundonald and Washington Streets. The doors had just opened at the new outlet, called WD2, and they are already selling the brands previously found at HWP Group Cycle Division and others that World Distributors have taken on, from their new location.
It is also is the new home of Bermuda Tire, as well as Social Cycles, a brand new bike business which Mr Bothello has opened in partnership with mountain biker enthusiast, mechanical engineer and owner of Latter Rain Water Service Dexter Swan.
Staff members were stocking shelves, putting up signage, fine-tuning IT and other aspects of opening a new premises, while curious passersby lured inside by the activity were browsing, looking at the new premises and the vehicles on display.
The reason for the expansion into the old Wheels building was because of the difficulties World Distributors faced in housing their cycle repair division and Bermuda Tire in the same building. “We needed to put the tyre sales and repair somewhere else,” explained Mr Bothello. It was, he said, a “no brainer” to move to the Washington Street building.
It has been a decade-long journey. “A partner and I bought World Distributors ten or 11 years ago. In 2007 we opened on North Street, and that’s where Bermuda Tire was born. Last year in April we took over HWP’s motor cycle business, which includes Honda, Aprilia, and Daelim motorbikes. Since then — I was a sucker for punishment — I took over Peugeot, and then we took over this building in January of this year.
“It’s a great location, but it’s been a lot of work,” he said. “The building had been neglected, but we have revived her. I’m very happy with the results,” he said, looking around the spacious, bright and airy premises.
He said the decision to expand had nothing to do with the recent change in Government. “I had signed on the dotted line to purchase the building prior to the election — I had made the commitment in September of last year.” The expansion has meant hiring more staff for the company, raising their compliment to 24. And it’s added about 6,000 square feet of space in total to the operation.
“We’ve been very pleased with how business has been going. Yes, it is a tough economy — but we needed to create a space for Bermuda Tire. It had become overwhelming.”
In further expanding the business, he joined forces with Mr Swan using a method he described as somewhat devious. “Dexter is in water trucking. I coaxed him around here for a water call — and four months later we have a bike business. I’m very excited about the bicycle business. We carry Fuji Bikes, which is the oldest bike manufacturer in the world — it was founded in 1899.”
Social Cycles is more than a bike shop. “It’s where you can relax and have coffee or tea as well. We are going to have inside seating and we want to create a real social aspect to our business in the building.”
As for the future: “I am very curious to see how we develop. We have great ideas, but we also know we have to listen to our customers.”
World Distributors continue to sell Yamaha cycles from their North Street premises, and their cycle repair shop is also located there.