Covid-19: Innovation pays dividends for Swords bike shop

Richies Bike Store on Main Street in Swords will open its doors on Monday for the first time since the Government ordered all such retailers to close as part of attempts to slow the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But shop manager Billy Keating says that, even with the doors closed, business has been up three to fourfold over the period due to some innovative entrepreneurship.

“We have been asking people to drop their bikes at a car park in the area,” he says. “We then pick it up, repair it, and drop it back. We have been operating a contactless payment system and it’s a same day pick-up so it’s worked very well.”

That being said, Mr Keating will be glad to have the shop open again. He says the store has spent €1,000 on various pieces of equipment in preparation for it.

“We needed signage instructing people where to queue and where to stand to comply with social distancing measures,” he says. “We’ll only be allowing a maximum of three customers in the store at any one time, whereas normally, when it’s busy at least, we might expect to have 15-20 people inside.”

Keating is expecting business to be booming on Monday.

“The phone hasn’t stopped ringing since we closed,” he says. “A lot of people have been waiting since day one. Monday will be like St Stephen’s Day for us.”

Keating estimates business will be three to four times a normal day outside of lockdown and, if social distancing measures had not been required, he estimates it would be up to 10 times more than that again.

Business Today