Dirt Merchants goes back to basics
After six years of thrills and spills, Aro Valley’s iconic specialist mountain bike store – Dirt Merchants – is closing its doors and hitting the road as a mobile, one-man van service.
Located at 93 Aro St, the shop has become synonymous with Wellington’s mountain biking scene since it was founded by owner James Duncan in 2012.
“I’ve always been passionate about mountain biking and always dreamed of opening my own store. In 2010, I got a van and started running a specialised mobile mechanic and rental service,” says James.
Two years later, he decided to open a more traditional bricks and mortar store on Aro St to increase his profile and reach a wider customer base. Now the business has come full circle, as James prepares to go back to his roots.
“The success of the business over the past six years has been truly humbling and it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience. However, the realities of running a modern business mean I now spend more time in front of a computer than in front of customers or on the tools,” he says.
“That’s why I’ve decided to take the business back to basics. Customers can still expect the same standard of service, only now instead of them coming to me, I’ll be coming to them!”
He added that he will continue to run weekly rides and the annual Dirt Merchants Enduro, which is taking place on 1 April this year at Polhill Reserve.
“I hope that by being mobile I’ll be able to introduce some new routes to our club rides and, for anyone worried about the Enduro, don’t be – I’m looking forward to hosting this great event for many years to come!”
The mobile shop will keep regular Monday to Friday hours, with servicing taking place either in the van or on the customer’s preferred site, be it their home, workplace or the bottom of their favourite track!
Dirt Merchants will also remain the local agent for Santa Cruz and Julianna, and will continue to help Wellington’s would be shredders build the bike of their dreams. The store will officially close on 24 March and will be shut during the transition period, with a planned opening date of 14 May.
Questions & Answers
Here are a few more details about Dirt Merchants’ move. As more questions arise, we will add them to this page to keep everyone as up to speed as possible.
WHAT ABOUT THE DIRT MERCHANTS CREW?
Timing has actually worked out well for everyone in this case, as Stu and partner were planning to move south to Blenheim to dabble in viticulture. Karsten has completed his programme and is moving back home to the USA – we will all be envious of his back to back summers!
WILL YOU STILL BE SELLING ACCESSORIES?
I will only be selling repair-related equipment, such as tubes, tyres, handlebars and grips. I will no longer be selling protective equipment such as helmets and pads.
WHAT ABOUT WARRANTIES?
Dirt Merchants will still honour all warranties on bikes, parts and accessories as we have done previously.
WHAT IF I NEED A QUICK REPAIR JOB?
I will still be able to meet up with customers for quick repairs – being on the road may even make it easier as I can come to you. I will provide more details around the new schedule closer to the time.
IS MY BIKE INSURED WHILE YOU ARE WORKING ON IT?
Yes definitely, bikes held by Dirt Merchants for servicing will be fully insured and kept secure at all times.
HOW LONG DOES A SERVICE TAKE?
Service time is based on the Package you choose, but most services will take approximately 60-120 minutes. If it’s a quick fix or a consultation, we will have Nespresso on board and the van is more than big enough for you to come on in!