Case Study: J D Tandems LLP
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When did J D Tandems LLP start trading:
We opened our bicycle shop in 1991, at that time we were mainly a bicycle repair business. Gradually the business evolved to include sales of cycles and tandem bicycles. We re located the tandem side of the business to our existing premises 8 years ago, and we are now a specialist tandem bicycle retailer.
Who started J D Tandems:
My husband John Hargreaves. I (Ruth) joined him full time 1 year later.
Tell us what you do and how you do it:
Here at J D Tandems we sell tandem bicycles. We have several different brands of tandems available, one of these brands is our own in-house brand, this is the Orbit tandem range. We are not only tandem retailers but also manufacturers as well.
Who buys your product / service:
Our customers are very diverse, the majority are couples who are looking for a healthy leisure activity to do together. But we have cycle hire centres and organisations who arrange tandem riding for people with visual impairments. The age of our customers ranges from the very young to the very old.
What makes your business stand out from your competitors:
We are the largest tandem retailer in the UK by a long way and as a consequence of this we have a much larger and more diverse range of products than our competitors. And our customer service is 1st class too.
What are the main strength/s of J D Tandems:
We have an incredible amount of expertise, we are only a small business with 4 members of staff, including myself and my husband John, but between us we have been working in the tandem bicycle industry for over 75 years. Because we are building most of our tandems from scratch we are able to customise our products to suit each individual customer needs, so we are offering a very personal service.
What is the most useful lesson you’ve learned through experience:
To make business decisions consistent with the value that drives our business.
What are the values that drive your business:
We are passionate about creating the best range of tandems available in Europe by using proven methods of manufacturing to produce an exciting and good looking range of tandems that ride well, are value for money and enhance people’s quality of life.
And selling these tandems to couples in Europe along with tandem components and tandem wheels and providing the best possible customer service both at the point of sale and after the sale.
And making money of course.
What’s your favourite business book and why:
“Good to Great” by Jim Collins. This book has provided us with a framework upon which we use to run our business. When we first read it and applied the lessons learned our business took off on a steady path of growth and has continued on that path ever since.
What is the main mistake to avoid in future:
To let your business rely on products and supply chains you cannot control.
Which business success are you most proud of:
Buying Orbit Tandems in 2006.
What are the future ambitions for J D Tandems:
To continue to be the best retailer of tandems in Europe.
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