We sat down with Jim and Naomi McKenzie, owners of the Blacktop Motorcycle Works in Esk to chat about living and working in Somerset.
DESCRIBE BLACKTOP MOTORCYCLE WORKS
We are a family owned and run business and we work hard and believe in producing quality products. To put it simply, we restore and repair pre-1980’s British motorcycles. However, Blacktop Motorcycle Works is so much more than that. Our shop front is a museum that salutes yesteryear and British culture, so there’s really something for everyone, not just motorcycle enthusiasts. We have a range of British motorcycles on display and encourage everyone to come in and have a look at our motorcycle displays as well as our other antiquities and knick-knacks.
WHAT MAKES YOUR BLACKTOP MOTORCYCLES UNIQUE?
There are lots of international models out there, but for us, we only have eyes for our beloved British motorcycles. We have a strong focus on heritage and history, so only work on and build classic British models that are pre-1980. We also sell a huge range of spare parts, which come in handy for the DIY vintage motorcycle enthusiasts.
WHO IS YOUR TARGET MARKET?
We have a broad market when it comes to age groups with customers ranging from 16 to 90 plus years of age. Our customers usually already own or wish to own a classic British motorcycle, and these are people who tend to appreciate history and good quality mechanics.
HOW DO YOU MARKET BLACKTOP MOTORCYCLE WORKS?
We don’t have a formal or structured marketing plan and rely mostly from word of mouth. We also liaise with the Council’s tourism department and are open to take up any free promotional opportunities that come our way.
WHERE DO YOU ADVERTISE AND PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS?
At the moment we use Facebook as our major marketing tool, but we are looking to expand on this by utilising other marketing platforms in the coming months.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOUR BUSINESS FACES?
Getting parts out to our customers fast enough.
HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THAT CHALLENGE?
We really value our customers so try to keep on top of our ordering system. When we get a request, we try to send parts out straight away, and if we don’t have them in stock, place orders straight away. The next step, is a little beyond our control as we just have to pray Australia Post is on time!
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN REGARDING YOUR BUSINESS?
Concentrate on quality not quantity. We take the time to make sure that every piece of machinery we work on is done just right and always with the highest quality parts.
HOW DO YOU KEEP BLACKTOP MOTORCYCLE WORKS FRESH AND NEW?
We are always building new bikes so there is always something new and exciting for customers to see. The variety keeps us on our toes too!
WHAT’S THE BEST COMPLIMENT YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED ABOUT BLACKTOP MOTORCYCLE WORKS?
We often hear how extensive our knowledge of British motorcycles are and that we provide great customer service, which is always nice to hear. Of course, we also get a lot of comments about how cool our shop is.
I’D LIKE YOU TO THINK BACK TO WHEN YOU WERE AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR CAREER AND YOUR BUSINESS WAS BRAND NEW… WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER, LESS EXPERIENCED SELF?
Know your product. I guess that’s why we often get so many compliments about our extensive knowledge on British motorcycles.
WHAT’S THE MOST MEMORABLE THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED AT BLACKTOP MOTORCYCLE WORKS?
Moving our life and work to Somerset has been the start of a new adventure, so is pretty memorable and special to us. We moved our business from Clifton where we were for 10 years to the main street of Esk, hoping to continue to nurture and grow our unique business. We are loving living in Somerset and look forward to making many great memories here.
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VISIT BLACKTOP MOTORCYCLE WORKS
166 Ipswich Street, Esk Qld 4312
0414 477 823
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Open 8.30am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday | 8am to 1pm Saturday | 9am to 12pm Sunday