Electric bikes have helped Murray Pratt continue his Christmas tradition amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Now he’s now selling them in the brand new Southlands community.
Pratt and Gord Sarkisian have teamed up to open Pedego Electric Bikes in the Boundary Bay Development Market district which showcases other businesses and could also be the future location of a new Four Winds Brewery restaurant, a development, in which a application was submitted to the city of Delta earlier this week.
For years, Pratt has donned the red costume and beard to be “Santa Claus” at various community events. He believed COVID-19 had put the concert on hiatus until Sarkisian suggested he join an electric bike group that would provide Christmas cheer to isolated residents of local nursing homes.
“It was a transformational event for me,” recalls Pratt. “Just being able to go out and visit senior residences with seven bikes in front of me and me in the ‘sleigh’. It was one of those wonderful days of the year for me.
Pratt and Sarkissian began to take a closer interest in e-bikes and studied the business side. They found out that Pedego wanted an authorized dealer in the Delta, Surrey and Langley area when that also matched Southlands’ business plan. The 750 square foot store is now open seven days a week.
“We had heard that Southlands was looking for a bicycle company. The development has a resort feel with a back-to-the-ground movement, ”added Pratt. “I actually look at electric bikes versus automobiles. The idea that there are certain trips where an electric bicycle can replace a car trip. It is the natural element. Then there are the perks where you can go further, like seeing what’s around Boundary Bay.
E-bikes are popular enough to generate quick sales, but Pratt said it’s important the store also offers a rental component, which will launch this weekend.
“You could sell a lot of e-bikes because they are in high demand, but we wanted to be a convenience for the Southlands and for the community as well,” he said.
Pratt added that the original idea was that e-bikes would primarily appeal to young buyers interested in the speed and thrill aspect. Instead, the exact opposite is happening.
“The typical customer is over 50 and it’s often the people who thought their days of driving (cycling) were over,” he said. “It was uncomfortable or hard on the knees. It’s helping people. They feel better and can go further than ever before.