“Entering the WOBAs made me look at the business differently”

Kate Berman, Mickey Cranks

Wednesday September 2nd 2015

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Mick Murphy, owner of Mickey Cranks bike shop in Witney is a man with a lot of energy.

Up until the age of 21 he was a tri-athelete before joining the RAF as a PT instructor – instructing Parachuting and Sky Diving. 22 years later he left the RAF. He needed to find something for him, something that he loved. Cycling.

Mick’s love of cycling grew after a knee injury from parachuting. He became what he describes as ‘a bike geek’. He cycled as part of a club, and saw a gap in the market for a specialist bike retailer. “There’s no room in the market for another mass bike retailer. If you want to survive, you have to specialise.” Applaud the birth of Mickey Cranks.

The shop is literally bike heaven for enthusiasts. It’s in a large outlet on an industrial estate on Station Lane, Witney. There are tonnes of bikes on display, a large area for professional servicing, bespoke builds and repairs. There’s a wide range of the very latest clothing and accessories, a social area for those who fancy a coffee and a bit of bike chat, or just to sit and read some bike mags in peace. Finally the piece de resistance – the all-important bike fit. This is a special service that Mickey Cranks offer where using the latest hi-tech kit they ensure the perfect fit for your bike and is a real USP for the business.

Mick loves bikes. His passion and enthusiasm just bursts from him. His team – 3 full-timers and 2 part-time are all bike crazy too. Knowing the product, being passionate about it and understanding the target audience are the ingredients for the success of his business. He has an 850 strong cycling club with the men being called ‘The Cranks’ and the women ‘The Crankettes’. Mick rides as part of this club and says “being amongst other enthusiasts, seeing, feeling, hearing what they say about bikes just drives my passion and understanding of what my customers want from my bike shop”. He feels very strongly about inclusion.

“My bike club is inclusive not exclusive. There is a team for everyone – a slow, medium and two different fast clubs. Both male and female. It’s friendly and sociable and there is always something fun going on.”

Mick decided to enter WOBA this year (just approaching year 2 into the business), as year 1 was “just too busy!” He was over the moon to win the 2015 Witney Business & Innovation Centre New Business Award and took his family to the ceremony – “it was just a great night” he says.

For him, going through the process of entering the WOBAS was very valuable. “It really made me think about and focus on the business plan. It gave me a chance to look at every aspect of the business and reminded me not to ignore the bigger picture. It made me look at the business differently”

Mick felt a sense of pride using the WOBA winners logo on his website, and has proudly displayed the certificate in the shop. He’s received lots of positive feedback from customers but says the best bit was “feeling accepted into the West Oxfordshire business community. After being in the RAF community for so long, I now feel welcomed into this new community and it’s great”.