Rod Evans, owner of A Mere Cycle in Ellesmere, started a mobile cycle repair business in 2016 after receiving a £500 grant from Three Parishes Big Local to help him start-up.
The business went from strength to strength before the pandemic hit and families turned to cycling to enjoy the fresh air, resulting in an unprecedented spike in sales and work.
Three Parishes Big Local – a Big Lottery funded community group which supports the community in Gobowen, Weston Rhyn and St Martins – once again supported Mr Evans, who lives in St Martins, with funding for a website in October as he saw his business grow through the pandemic.
He opened his first shop on Market Street in February 2019 and it underwent a revamp in August last year to cope with the demand in business.
The 43-year-old cycling enthusiast, who decided to start his own business after being made redundant, said he had been overwhelmed with support from the local community of Ellesmere and those who live across the three parishes areas.
“I can’t believe how quickly my business grew – from one man and a van who went around repairing bikes on people’s driveways to having a shop in Ellesmere where I am selling new and used bikes, equipment and clothing – a one stop cycling stop!
“Without that first grant there is no way I would be where I am today – it grown faster than I could have imagined but every day feels like a dream rather than work.
“It has been amazing to see so many families and many adults who had never ridden a bike before enjoying our countryside. Many got bikes out of the sheds who had not looked at them for over 20 years.
“This has all happened thanks to the Three Parishes Big Local – firstly funding to get me on the road and take that first step into the self employed business world and then more recently with the website.
“It isn’t just about the money but also about the support and the network of professionals and the volunteers which Big Local offered to get me to the next level.”
Sylvia Dyke, chair of the Three Parishes Means Business group, said: “Rod has worked so hard and deserves every success at A Mere Cycle.
“He has been a joy to work with and support and we are glad the funding enabled him to fulfil his dream.”
The Three Parishes Big Local was funded through a £1million Big Lottery grant and has supported businesses and communities across Gobowen, St Martins and Weston Rhyn since 2014. The project is now its final 18 months and the last businesses and groups will be able to apply for the final pot of money.
Anybody who is interested in applying or needs business support who lives or works in any of the three parishes should visit https://big-local.org/ or call call 01691 656882 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.