An Mheitheal Rothar – Galway’s community Bicycle Shop – Interview
Time for a new interview! If you are new to my blog, I have been interviewing small businesses in the West of Ireland since 2016. Check out all the interviews I have done to date. The last interview I did was with Temple Cafe and excited the present my newest interview with Edwin Meppelink. This interview is slightly different, as it is with a volunteer at a not-for -profit organisation.
So how does this interview work, and how can you get interviewed?
I have learned that people aren’t responding to email anymore, and have gotten most of my completed questionnaires via Facebook or Twitter. The interview exists out of a number of questions that are stored in the cloud via Google docs. I then send a link , the interviewee clicks on the link, enters the answers to the questions and the beauty is there is no need to send documents over email. I love it! I then review the questions, ask for clarifications if needed, and then publish. So if you are up for a close-up 🙂 of your business/startup in the West of Ireland, please drop me an email here or connect me with on my Workinglivingtravellinginireland Facebook Page or Twitter. I do read my email! And remember, the more you put in, the more you get out of it. Please share this interview, as I’d like to start a small movement to highlight the brilliant businesses in the West of Ireland!
I found this picture on their Facebook Page, I loved the vibes !
Tell us a bit about yourself & where you are located in the West of Ireland.
My name is Edwin Meppelink. I am from Zutphen in the Netherland but I am living in Ireland for the last 11 years. First in Quin Co. Clare and for the last 4 years in Oranmore Co.Galway.
Can you provide me with a description of your business?
There are different elements. We have the workshop where people can come and fix their bicycle with the guidance of volunteer mechanics. We do Service & repairs where people can leave their bikes and we fix them for a reasonable price and we provide training in bike maintenance and on school we teach cycle skills.
How long have you been involved with this organisation?
I joined in Jan 2016 but AMR officially exist since June 2013.Since Jan 2016 I help out as a volunteer at An Mheitheal Rothar. The Galway community bicycle workshop. I am doing this to help people and because bicycles are my passion. Below you find a link that tells the story of An Mheitheal Rothar. http://www.chainge.ie/our-story/
Our public opening hours for 2017 are:Services & Repairs (leave your bike and we fix it for you):
Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays 1-5pmDIY Bicycle Workshop (you fix your bike with guidance from our volunteer mechanics):
Wednesdays 6pm-9pm & Fridays 12-3pm
An Mheitheal Rothar,
C/o NUI Galway,
Galway.Phone: 091 – 49 43 47 Map of where we are!
Is this your full time job, a hobby or a bit of both?
AMR is fully runned by volunteers but some are there full time. For me it’s a hobby.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
Yes I have a full City and Guild bicycle maintenance certification. At the workshop we have 3 others who did the same certification. We are the only official certified mechanics in the whole of Connacht!!
How do the social, economic, environmental, technological, legal and political environments impact your business?
Every single one has an impact. The social aspect is that we work with many volunteers. We are not focussed on profit but on the environmental and social aspect. Legally we need to make sure we are covered in case of accidents etc. Political as we work together with the county council (every year we open the Galway bike week in association with the council)
Do you know who your competitors are?
Yes, all of them are the Commercial bike shops in and around Galway.
How do you market your business? How are people aware of your business? Where can people find you?
Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?
It’s difficult to say as we work on a volunteer basis but we are looking at plans to split some parts and start the repairs on a more commercial basis.
Do you plan to compete in the global market place? If yes, how? If no, why not?
No we are a local business and the focus will stay on that.
How has technology, such as computers and the internet, impacted on how you conduct business?
What do you love about the area you live in/do business in?
I think of all the region in Ireland, Galway is still the best.
Whom do you seek advice from for your business/ do you meet up with other business owners? If so, where?
We are in close contact with Marty Manering and Paul Ryan from highnelly bicyles www.highnelly.ie
Can you describe your customers?
Our customer are mainly students but more and more we see people coming in that like to learn more about how to maintain their bikes.
Why do your customers select you over your competitors?
We are cheap! We don’t charge per hour (only on donation). We use second hand parts (which are for free) and new parts are very low in prices.
What are the biggest challenges for running this business?
As it’s all on a volunteer basis it’s hard to get commitment and to look for growth.
What keeps you going, when the chips are down?
The social aspect and the passion for bikes.
Do you support local charities? If so which is your favourite charity and why?
No charities but we do support schools with a bicycle skills training
Any special things planned for 2017?
In June we do the opening again of the Galway bike week (last year at Spanish arch )https://www.facebook.com/pg/AnMheithealRothar/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1090430394361197 )
Any tips for someone who is thinking of starting their own business?
Have fun and believe in what you do….
What did you learn from this interview?
That we do a great job 🙂
Just a quick reminder, please share this interview, as I’d like to start a small movement to highlight the brilliant businesses in the West of Ireland! If you would like to be next, please drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be in touch.
Thanks for reading & sharing!