A St Helens skateboarding enthusiast has escaped the daily grind by achieving his dream of turning his hobby into a full-time job.
Allan Davidge opened a shop in Barrow Arcade dedicated to all things boarding after enjoying the sport as a pastime for 16 years.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy setting up my own business but the support has been brilliant from start to finishAllan Davidge
Allan took the step of starting his own store after being in and out of a number of jobs and approached St Helens Chamber to try to make his idea a reality.
He received advice from a business start-up expert, including one-to-one coaching, and opened the only shop in St Helens dedicated to skateboarding gear and accessories last November.
Allan said: “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy setting up my own business but the help and support from St Helens Chamber has been brilliant from start to finish.
“My start-up adviser Stella helped me with business planning and cash flow, finding a shop location and a loan application. “I think we’re doing well as we’re the only skate shop in St Helens and it’s a niche market. It doesn’t seem to matter that our premises are not directly on the main high street as when people want our stuff they will walk to find us.”
“We haven’t spent loads of money on marketing the shop, it’s just word of mouth. We get customers coming from Liverpool as they’ve heard about us from people they know.”
Allan is now looking to expand the store’s online presence and also has an ambition to establish his own indoor skate park so enthusiasts of all ages can develop their skills in a safe environment.
He also believes a permanent all-weather facility would provide an important location for like-minded skate fans to meet up in the evenings and during school holidays.
Adrian Ellis, business start-up manager at St Helens Chamber, said: “Our business start-up service offers free, impartial advice and support to people thinking of starting a business.
“Our team of experienced business advisers are working with an incredibly diverse range of new ventures across St Helens and Merseyside, which is very encouraging for the local economy.”