FOR 21 years a husband and wife team have kept a motorcycle business going – bucking the trend of failing firms.
Back in 1992, and with two small children, Trevor and Sandra Pope put their house on the line to set up Trevor Pope Motorcycles in North Cross Street, Gosport.
After just three years at that shop, they moved to their bigger current site in Forton Road. And plans for expansion are now on the cards.
On the secret of their success, both agreed that they work as a team – Trevor, a motorcycle mechanic, working on the bike side, while Sandra keeps the equally important accounts and paperwork in check.
The pair met 26 years ago and Trevor, then working at another motorcycle shop, soon mentioned he would like to run his own, with Sandra helping him.
Trevor said: ‘Sandra was the driving force to make me do it, and she still is the driving force – I don’t argue with her.
‘As our bank tells us, we’re probably one of five companies still expanding in Gosport.
‘Obviously we’re in it for the long haul – we’re not going to get out of it.’
The business is booming, with franchises including KTM, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. The couple also provide bikes, fine-tuning and repairs for race teams.
And the pair employ eight people to work at the shop and workshop, including factory KTM mechanics, a parts and sales manager and a Motocross clothing specialist.
Loyalty and teamwork is clearly important too, with some staff having worked for the Popes for more then a decade.
Over a long period of time the business has always innovated and grown.
Sandra said: ‘Every month we do something new.
‘We’re always trying to go one ahead of all the other dealers.
‘You can’t get in a rut, there are so many motorcycle dealers that have gone down, especially in Portsmouth.’
A lot of their business comes from the racing side of the industry, having built up a reputable profile through word of mouth.
And just last year the shop supplied seven winning race teams in different disciplines in British championships.
But importantly, neither allows work to take over, still having time to enjoy other hobbies, although Trevor admits that working has stopped him from getting on his own bike as often as he likes. For more information about their shop, see trevorpopemotorcycles.co.uk