The novel coronavirus COVID-19 is impacting businesses across the globe, including Southern startups. We want to know how you’re being affected, as a startup founder, employee, investor or general member of the community. We’re publishing selected stories sent directly from you, only making edits where necessary for grammar and formatting, so if you have a story to share, please send it to us through this form. Good luck!
Today’s story: Thad Oviatt of Parkent Cycles in Atlanta
Parkent Cycles had just graduated from Cohort 3 of The Farm Comcast NBCUniversal / Boomtown Accelerator program in November 2019. As part of the graduation, we were given a working space at The Farm with our logo on the door!
We are incredibly thankful to The Farm for the space and not having to continue working out of our house/garage. It was great because we could meet with clients, customers and potential partners at “our office!” A result of these meetings was we got the backing of Georgia Power to supply energy to wherever we install a secure charging station for bicycles!
THEN THE COVID-19 “CORONAVIRUS” HIT ATLANTA.
Because our office is in the Comcast building, we were not allowed to go back to it and told to go home. Worst was our customers, whom we’ve been working to get deals with, [and include] business properties, corporate properties and municipalities. They got super-busy with shutdowns, enforcing social distancing and saving lives. Parkent being a two-man gig, [we] went back to working out of the house with, thankfully, an AT&T high-speed fiber Internet line.
A shining light in this pandemic is electric bicycles (e-bikes) sales have not been affected by the shutdown. Another is that more people are looking towards e-bikes as a viable mode of transportation for short trips.
With bicycle shops now marked as “essential businesses,” the sales of regular bicycles are also increasing. Plus, with far less cars on the road, there is far less fear in riding a bicycle on the streets.
As of April, the government has reinstated the EV charging station rebate / tax credit, worth 30 percent the price of a station purchase under $30,000. More people are riding around looking for a secure places to leave their bicycles and e-bikes safely unattended and able to charge.
Parkent Cycles looks to come out of this pandemic with the world’s first fully working, secure charging stations for bicycles. The stations are free, as they can be paid off in a year with higher customer traffic and EV rebates / tax credits — same as for car charging stations!
And hopefully, we can get our super cool office back at The Farm!!
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