Shop Local: Axcess Bikes in Honiton

The Axcess Electric Bikes team at their base in Heathfield Industrial Estate. Picture: Fran Mcelhone

The Axcess Electric Bikes team at their base in Heathfield Industrial Estate. Picture: Fran Mcelhone. - Credit: Archant

This week, as part of Herald’s Shop Local campaign, we spoke to the team at Axcess Electric Bikes.

The inspiration for the business, located at Heathfield Industrial Estate, was the 2009 recession. The Japanese tsunami in 2011 was the catalyst for the firm launching its own brand of bikes, and the coronavirus pandemic – and a surge in bicycle sales worldwide – saw the firm’s most buoyant summer ever.

“When the recession hit, I was looking at areas where there would be growth opportunities in the future, and I settled on e-bikes,” explained owner Peter Blackman. “Then after the tsunami in 2011, there was a worldwide shortage of bike parts, so we decided to launch our own brand to sell alongside the other brands we already stocked.”

There are many high street casualties the world over due to Covid-19, as people shun the shops for online retail outlets.

While Axcess Electric Bikes has been riding the storm so far, the backlash is now being felt due to the worldwide shortage of bike parts.

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“This time last year, just weeks before the Coronavirus outbreak, I was in China visiting the factory we use,” said Peter. “The cycling industry has been lucky because bike shops were allowed to stay open during lockdown. We’ve been very fortunate that we’re in a business which saw an increase in demand in the height of the pandemic, running out of stock in July.”

Originally, the idea was to locate the shop in Axminster, providing the ‘Ax’ in ‘Axcess’. But when suitable premises came up in Honiton instead, the location changed, but the name had already stuck.

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Axcess consists of a small team. Peter is joined by a full-time bike mechanic and a part time sales assistant. He is hoping to employ a technician through the government’s Kickstart Scheme next year.

“We hope people continue to shop locally,” he added. “Our customers can try before they buy, talk to us in person about their requirements, and come back to us if they need extra parts or maintenance.”

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