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“NEW NORMAL” TRADING AT ORWELL

With its showroom shut owing to the current Covid lockdown, Ipswich-based Kawasaki, KTM and Suzuki dealership Orwell Motorcycles is viewing this footfall hiatus as an opportunity.

“We’ve put the closure to good use by reorganising the showroom,” says Orwell director Dave Willis. “We’re bringing all the KTM products together in one display area at the front of the building. We want to keep our wide range of KTM merchandise with the motorcycles, to concentrate the brand image and make an even bigger impact.

“We’ll also have more KTM bikes on display in the showroom and will be growing our demo fleet with a total of 15 models available over the riding season, as well as five presentation machines kitted out with KTM PowerParts personalisation and performance items.

“This highlights how important the KTM franchise is for us and how well it is going after a first full year. And we’ve now been awarded the Suffolk franchise for KTM’s off-road range in addition to its street bikes. The new motocross and enduro models are due to arrive here in June.”

Willis stresses that Orwell’s other brands won’t suffer through the reorganisation. “It will also give our Suzuki range a prominent road-facing display position,” he adds. 

“It makes sense to do all the work while the showroom is shut. As part of the revamp, we’ll be refreshing the paintwork too and plan to have it all finished during the lockdown.”

His fellow director Rob Walters is equally positive about adapting the way of doing business in these strange times. “We learned a lot from the first lockdown last year, and are being flexible to help customers until we return to some normality,” says Walters. “Having got through that, we thought about how to work behind closed doors, remotely and over the internet. 

“Now, being in lockdown at the quietest time of the year is not too bad. We’re still doing a lot of internet sales of parts and accessories, and selling bikes online. But, if it goes into March, April, May and June again we’ll just have to adapt further and cope with the situation as best we can.

“We’ll do everything we can within reason. Although it’s not helped by some parts and accessories being delayed due to a combination of new Brexit regulations and coronavirus restrictions.

“Our workshop is keeping busy too. We only have two technicians in at any time, to keep them distanced, plus manning service reception. We’re making a great effort to extend our local pick-up and delivery service for bikes, to save people having to turn out in the bad weather or if they’re isolating.

“There’s only one member of the sales team in each day to deal with calls and online inquiries. And we’re rotating the staff so they don’t come into contact with each other.”

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