AvantiPlus Masterton

A new business riding high

  • Avanti Plus - Wairarapa-pic

    Cycling enthusiasts at AvantiPlus Masterton: (from left) Ben Knight, Karen Sims, John, and Deb Allen.

For four friends, a shared love of cycling has turned into a thriving business.

Deb Allen and Ben Knight, together with their partners John Allen and Karen Sims, all mad-keen cyclists and heavily involved in the local cycling community, took the bold step earlier this year and purchased AvantiPlus in Masterton’s Chapel Street.

The new store and onsite bike workshop is proudly housed in new, purpose-built premises, complete with a kitchen and hot shower for customers to use after a ride. Deb and Ben run the business, while John and Karen act as silent partners.

Up until the purchase of AvantiPlus, Deb and Ben had been working together at Lambert Cycles, an established bike store in Masterton. “I worked for Brian Lambert for five years in accounting and office management, while Ben was in sales and repaired bikes in the workshop. We both learnt the ropes not only about bikes, but also about how to run a business. So when the opportunity to purchase the business arose, it seemed like the logical step and we jumped at it,” says Deb.

The combination of Deb’s financial and business acumen and Ben’s technical expertise with bikes seemed perfect. But Deb openly admits that buying the business was “pretty scary”.

“We knew it was a good business, and had a lot of discussions with everyone before buying it. And it was a big step. In the end, it just made sense to do it,” she says.

Helping them through the process of buying the business was Markhams director Mike Flower. Although John and Deb were already clients of Markhams Wairarapa through their other business, Allens Vehicle Repairs, they engaged Mike to help them navigate the purchase.

“The sale of the Lamberts’ business to us was quite complicated and presented unique challenges. Having Mike pointing us in the right direction was very reassuring. We asked him a lot of little questions along the way – little questions that would have probably become big questions if we didn’t sort them out at the beginning,” explains Deb.

Whilst Deb has the financial and administration skills to manage the monthly financials for the business, she and Ben rely on Markhams for the “bigger things” including end of year reports, cash flows and tax returns.

“Markhams is great for advice and giving things the once-over and we really rely on their expertise,” says Deb.

As for the future, Deb and Ben are keen to keep up the high level of support for the local cycle and multisport clubs that Lambert Cycles had set in place, including the sponsorship of local events such as the Tour of Wairarapa, weekly summer biathlon series and kids triathlons.

And when they get a break from work, Deb and Ben are off on their bikes, enjoying the wonderful cycling that Wairarapa roads offer.


Published Summer 2012.

Serious about your success?