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Santa will be scooting in for five families

Scootermart Santas: from left, Detroy Bean, Nick Thomson and Wayne Burgess (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Some gifts are too big to fit down the chimney.

This year, the ScooterMart team will be riding theirs — the Paget dealership has launched an initiative to give at least five new bikes to families in need.

From now until Christmas Eve, business partners Nick Thomson and Wayne Burgess will donate $100 for every bike purchased from their store.

Their plan is to raise $10,000. The money will be used to purchase, license and insure bikes and deliver them on Christmas Day to local families in need.

“This is a way we can give back. Our community has helped us be successful so far and we want to give back in the way we can,” said Mr Thomson.

He was not as aware of financial difficulties in the community before he started the shop. He and Mr Burgess came up with the idea after chatting with visitors to their showroom.

“People would come to the showroom and tell us their story,” he said. “From that we thought, this is a cool way to help. We’ll be able to dress up like Santa on Christmas Day and put smiles on people’s faces. It’s not too much of a burden for us and it could make a life-changing difference to someone else.

“They can get groceries and drop their children off to school instead of putting them on the bus, instead of relying on public transportation — which is difficult.”

He said theirs is often the first company buyers go to looking for better deals.

“We get to talk to a lot of people who desperately need transportation. Some people get a job site on the other end of the island and they have an hour-and-a-half commute in the morning, an hour-and-a-half back, all the while having to take care of all their family obligations.

“We hear a lot of these stories. I’ve been blessed my whole life to never have to worry about something as simple as transportation.

“[While] I never realised how big of a burden it can be, I can certainly imagine. Especially having kids and all the financial worries that come along with that. People are busy enough without having to bus an hour-and-a-half every morning and night and then have to get groceries.”

The former public accountant at KPMG studied finance at Florida State University. He said he had always wanted to set up his own business in Bermuda after watching his parents succeed. His father, Stephen Thomson, owns Mailboxes Unlimited, US Express and Just Shirts dry-cleaners; his mother, Norma Thomson, founded Nonna’s Kitchen.

He thinks every business should do their part to help.

“It’s a good way to not only help your business financially but also give back at the same time. It’s kind of a win-win.

“If we all work together, we can make a difference. A lot of businesses in Bermuda can use their position and their resources to give back to the community in their own way. I hope that we can set an example for other businesses to help out our community in whatever their specific niche is.”

The 25-year-old modelled his business on American used car dealership CarMax.

“I thought there should be a better way. The CarMax model made it really easy for me to buy and sell while I was there. It was low-hassle, fair and professional.”

A trip to Thailand last month also inspired this philanthropic effort.

“I saw a lot of poverty down there. It definitely made me think a little more,” he said.

“They also love their bikes. It made me realise that I’m in a position where, if I get them at a good price for Bermuda, then I can use the success the community has given me to give back to the community.”

Lucky families will receive a brand-new Honda Activa 4G. “We have a few families in mind. We’ll give the bikes to the ones that need it the most,” Mr Thomson said.

“I’ve always loved Bermuda small business. I like the positive effect you can have on the people you employ and on your customers. I like the human side of it a lot.

“And I like selling bikes. You get a cool bike, you have the wind in your face, you have a big smile — people are happy.”

For more information, telephone 232-2453, or visit info@scootermart.bm or scootermart.bm.