The business started as a home-based online business in 2005, catering & specializing to the cruiser fraternity. Feeling the need to see our customers face to face without opening a storefront, we started travelling to rallies and swap meets from as far north as Townsville QLD, to as south as Mildura VIC and as far west as Lightning Ridge. We were invited to our first rally in May 2006. We packed what goods we had in the back of our Ford Falcon sedan including one 3 x 3 meter Gazebo. Looking back, we were an extremely small outfit and vendor, as with the stock we had, we couldn’t even fill that small space with stock, but we had a lot of fun and it was a real learning curve for us. Our next step was to expand our inventory. With that, we had to buy a trailer to pack our stock, as it was never going to fit in the back of the Ford, so we bought a 7 x 5 foot shuttle bus trailer and another 3 x 3m Gazebo and then we were really rocking (or rather we thought we were). Within 18 months we had moved from transporting our stock with a Ford sedan and one 3 x 3 Gazebo to a 7 x 5 foot trailer with a selling space of 3 x 6 m, then we moved on to a 13 foot caravan and started working out of a setup area of 6 x 6m and having to put stock outside our Gazebos as room was getting tight. In 2008 we had the Ulysses AGM in Townsville to travel to, and space in the old caravan was getting real tight and with the weight of our goods it would have been really hard hauling all that gear up there, so we decided to buy a Pantech Truck. Much to our delight, we had more room to buy more inventory and that’s exactly what we did. The business was growing very rapidly, but that was because we could feel what the bikers needs were, as we were not just a vendor with no interest on motorcycles, but we were passionate bikers ourselves that had became biker retailers. It was around late 2007 that we started producing our own brand vests, which took off really well and now we produce three different styles, as well as our own brand Kevlar Jeans in three colours and styles, as well as ladies Jeans.
The thought of opening a store front was always in the back of our minds, but we were having a ball travelling to rallies and not being tied down to one location (having stores before in the catering business, we were very reluctant for another store front), but we grew to the point of carrying a lot of inventory and with the winter months having long breaks between rallies, it just made good sense to open a store front. So on January 10th 2009 CC-LEATHER-RIDER store front was opened at 1139 Pacific Hwy Lake Munmorah at the Caltex Service Station. We opened with a Show & Shine, a free sausage sizzle and specials that attracted what we think was a very reasonable crowd for openers. We now conduct an annual Anniversary Show & Shine in January every year, which is always a huge success with a huge numbers of bikers and patrons attending with food, drinks & bands playing, along with three “Open Days” we have during the year. The catering at our shows is conducted by various clubs raising money for their clubs. My 3rd year Show & Shine (2012) was catered for by my club, the Vietnam Veterans MC Sydney Chapter. I supplied all the food and drinks at my expense and 100% proceeds went to the Royal Children’s Hospital – Randwick Cystic Fibrosis unit. Proudly we handed over a cheque to the value of $2,088.00. These days, we only attend three rallies a year as vendors, as our priority is to our loyal customers as well as just wanting to party at rallies and not work.
About Christos Andrews AKA Frankie
I have been self employed since the age of 19, working in various businesses from transport to catering businesses, but mainly retail catering, which I was successful at, but disliked the retail side of business. With a small family and a mortgage, I had to do what was right and what I was familiar with to make a living.
I didn't own a bike for 15 years with a young family, business commitments, a mortgage etc taking priority over me riding & partying. In 2005 with the kids being of an age that freed up a bit of my time, I finally bought a motor bike and I was really looking forward to getting back into the scene again.
In May of 2005 I became very ill and had to sell my business and was really not knowing what I was going to do with myself. While convalescing at home and playing around on my computer I struck some wholesalers and that’s how CC-LEATHER-RIDER was born, which shows us that we really don’t have full control of our destiny and circumstance and chance rules us.
My previous experiences in retail was the reason I didn’t want another store front and kept on pushing the thought to the back of my mind. However, it dawned on me at one rally that what I was doing was retailing again, but I was retailing products that were within my lifestyle and that “retail” wasn’t the thing I hated about previous businesses, but “what” I was retailing was what I hated (eventually the penny dropped).
So here I am behind the counter again dealing with my customers and loving what I do.