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Sydney couple Justin and Simone Chisholm steadily established themselves among Australia’s leading Yamaha motorcycle retailers and are now they’re turning their considerable energies and acumen to the bicycle industry.
The duo established Trooper Lu’s Bicycles in Liverpool last October, an offshoot of their successful Trooper Lu’s Garage motorcycle business, and have quickly built a thriving business with a large range of bikes and accessories.
The only thing holding back the growth of their bike shop is a search for high-quality staff.
“We are in a major recruiting phase, to find experienced staff who can help us grow our workshop and retail spaces,” Justin explained.
“We put a lot of emphasis on supporting and training our staff, giving them training at every opportunity. We just need to source people keen to join our team.”
That commitment to training and supporting staff has earned plenty of loyalty among the existing team.
Freedom to Grow
“We’ve been lucky to have several long-term staff since we opened Trooper Lu’s Garage 12 years ago,” he said.
“Just like most families, we’ve had staff branch out and then return. It’s all part of the culture of letting staff grow and supporting them in their life endeavours.
“We give staff plenty of freedom – freedom to succeed but also freedom to fail and learn. It means we have a team of people who achieve on their merits and develop from their experiences.”
Justin said the team has a definite family vibe – complete with the typical family “disputes” and plenty of commitment.
Long-serving spare parts staff Greg and Nat say the addition of the bicycle business delivered some welcome new challenges.
Greg said: “We’re enjoying getting up to speed with the additional ranges and introducing them to our customers.”
It’s been a similar experience for Larissa and Josh, who oversee the service side of the businesses.
Larissa added: “We had to learn quickly with the different customer base but it’s cool.
“The workshop is non-stop and there’s a busy vibe all the time.
“My son certainly loves coming here as well because it’s like a toy shop for him.”
Fuelled by Family
Much of Trooper Lu’s family vibe springs from the Chisholms’ personal passion for motorcycles and mountain bikes – from repairing and restoring bikes to family riding adventures.
Justin is a former Detective Inspector who left the police force when it became “more about the politics and drama and less about serving the community”.
He had been working on motorcycles and bikes for years as a hobby and had created Trooper Lu’s Garage – named after their children Trooper, 13, and Louella, 15 – as a backyard workshop for boutique motorcycle repairs.
“I’ve consistently built, restored and repaired bicycles and motorcycles,” Justin explained.
“I’m always trying to create something different and provide a good quality service to all customers.
“Until mid-2009, this was just a hobby business for me and I only worked for select customers and friends.”
That backyard operation grew over the years and as Justin considered a career away from the police, they decided to shift the motorcycle business into a showroom in Liverpool.
As Trooper Lu’s Garage grew, it evolved into one of Sydney’s leading 100% dedicated Yamaha motorcycle and off-road vehicle dealerships.
With that success under their belts and as the COVID pandemic struck, Justin and Simone sought a change of space to complement their thriving motorcycle business.
A bike store was the obvious option, fitting in perfectly with Trooper Lu’s Garage and the Chisholm’s love of riding motorcycles and mountain bikes.
“After wanting to open a bicycle workshop for years, we decided it was time to follow our passion and formally branch out into Trooper Lu’s Bicycles,” Justin added.
Simone said: “We’re very excited about our new venture, which is really taking off.
“We’re both very hands-on with the store, which already has over 120 bikes on-site, from kids bikes to e-bikes and a full spectrum of mountain bikes.”
Trooper Lu’s Bicycles stocks Focus, Scott, Orbea, Lapierre, Rocky Mountain, Avanti and SE Bikes.
She said they have a strong focus on “boutique” mountain bikes.
“We decided there are enough bicycle and motorcycle supermarkets out there already, so we want to be more like a connoisseur’s delicatessen,” she explained.
“We also established a large range of accessories from Shimano, SRAM, Deity, Hope, Syncros, Muc Off, Dharco clothing, Bell helmets and Giro.
“It’s also a particularly exciting time to have a close affiliation with Yamaha, which has just released some exciting new electric bikes and scooters and already has a great eMTB range.
“We’re hoping to see those bikes in Australia in 2023, depending on how the current global issues play out.”
Simone said while sourcing stock continues to be challenging, Trooper Lu’s has strong relationships and good support from its suppliers.
Justin said the Trooper Lu’s Bicycles workshop has all the latest in tooling and a dedicated space within the motorcycle work area.
“Our workshop is a great space for sharing knowledge and experience because all of our team are motorcycle and MTB riders,” he said.
“While a number of our staff are dedicated exclusively to the bicycle side of the business, we have also trained some of our qualified motorcycle mechanics through BMTI (Bicycle Mechanic Training Institute) so they are dual qualified.”
“We love the camaraderie between riders and we look to replicate that within our team and in everything we do.”
People keen to join the Trooper Lu’s Bicycles team or find out more about the business can contact Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (02) 9602 3773, or visit www.trooperlubicycles.com.au or visit their current Job advertisement online here.