Used Gear A Boon for Jacksonville Entrepreneurs

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People in the powersports industry might not think this is the best time to look for opportunities here, but workers, laid off and discouraged from other industries, still hope to capture some of the magic.

Jacksonville.com reports that two entrepreneurs in that Florida town have started making good with secondhand PG&A operations.

Debbie Burgess, 52, was laid off from a job as a training specialist in financial services. The Harley enthusiast saw an opportunity while putting some suits in a consignment store.

About six months later, last November, she opened 2nd Ride Around, where she sells used T-shirts, jeans, jackets and vests. She started with items of her own, her friends, and yard sale finds.

Since then she’s built a clientele of 35 consignors. She told Jacksonville.com most people sell items because they have either gained weight or switched bikes. Burgess gets 60 percent of a consigned item’s selling price, which is determined with the seller up front.

She’s added two racks of clothing, including a rack of sportbike jackets – a new direction for a store catering to the V-twin set. The store also offers some new accessories: jewelry and other motorcycle-themed items. She offers layaway.

Before starting the business, Burgess attended a four-day National Association for Resale and Thrift Shops conference in Arizona and a four-week Small Business Startup Series with the University of North Florida's Small Business Development Center.

If business continues at this pace, she is already considering opening more stores. "Business has been phenomenal," she said.

J.C. Phelan, 29, was laid off as a Walgreens assistant manager last February. He, too, opened a used bike gear and apparel store. Turn2Gear sells new, used and consignment motorcycle gear and clothing.

Phelan targets customers who want protective gear at bargain prices. His top-selling items are helmets, gloves and jackets, he told Jacksonville.com. "It's the same thing as a Bealls Outlet," Phelan said. "It's not always the latest and greatest stuff that you buy at designer shops, but you'll pay 50 percent less."

He’s also a fully authorized parts dealer, so he custom-orders motorcycle and motocross parts. He does about a quarter of his overall business through his website, www.turn2co.com.

He hopes to hire someone soon so he can spend more time scouring for deals on buying trips near and far, which he says is a key to his discount pricing. To promote the store, he advertises, goes to bike nights and makes use of free Web sites such as Craigslist; but upwards of 90 percent of his business is still from word-of-mouth, he said.

Posted by Holly Wagner