Scotty Browns Bike Emporium

Riding high through tough times

A humble Morrison 10 speed ignited a young Scotty Brown’s love affair with bikes. Many years later, at the age of 18, Scotty Browns Bike Emporium opened its doors to become an iconic retail business.

For 18 years the Emporium in central Christchurch had been a cyclist’s dream store, selling and servicing an extensive range of exotic, bespoke and well known brand bikes and accessories. But for the past nine months, an abandoned boatshed has been the store’s temporary location.

In September 2010, Scotty was forced out of his Manchester Street premises by the first of Canterbury’s earthquakes. Three months later the store had a new home in Bedford Row and he hit the ground running.

“We opened our Bedford Row store in December 2010 and it performed extremely well. We had amazing customer support and the business was thriving. Then we were hit by the February 2011 quake, which turned out to be a lot more devastating for us than the September event,” says Scotty.

With major damage and issues with their Business Interruption insurance, Scotty took stock of his situation.

“I had intentions of going back to our store, but then the city shut down. We didn’t want to rush into a new lease – it was essential to find the right place for our customers and I wanted to take time to make such important decisions. But we had to carry on and we consider ourselves to be ‘one of the lucky ones’ – our customers have been incredibly loyal and supportive.”

Shortly the Emporium will move to a new home in a transformed industrial warehouse in Sydenham. The store will feature interactive displays, video walls and a history library to add to the extensive range of bikes, clothing and accessories for road cycling, triathlon and mountain biking. The store will also continue to offer the parts and backup servicing it has become well known for in the cycling fraternity.

Biking has always been in Scotty’s blood and after leaving school he worked in several bike shops with lofty dreams of becoming a competitor on the pro-bike circuit. But when he opened the Emporium, he hung up his bike and gave the business his full attention.

“The first 10 years were a real struggle. But I worked really hard and built up the market and our customer base. I have a pure passion for cycling and that drives me,” he says.

When Scotty is not working, he can be found riding or busy organising cycling events for charity. To date he has raised more than $50,000 for the Cholmondeley Children’s home, a facility offering children short term and emergency respite care during times of stress or crisis in their homes, and he visits every opportunity he can.

Markhams Christchurch director Paul Rickerby had been a customer of Scotty’s for years so when it came time to seek business and financial advice after the tumultuous period following the earthquakes, Paul was an obvious choice.

“I felt it was time to take the business to the next level. I wanted someone not just to do the numbers, but to be a business partner and to help me grow the business from a financial aspect. Paul is a very good fit as he understands the business, our ways and the broader sporting industry.”

Scotty credits Markhams for helping him through a very difficult trading time with excellent advice, financial strategies and plans for the business’s future.

“Markhams is the right fit, the right firm with the right advice.”

Published Summer 2011.

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