As avid motorcyclists, John and Melissa Cornwell have combined riding experience of more than 27 years, so it’s no surprise that they enjoy being surrounded by two-wheeled vehicles.
“I’ve had my motorcycle license longer than my car license,” John Cornwell said. “I’ll be 46 [this week] so I will have been on the road riding a motorcycle for 30 years on Sept. 20.”
It turns out the couple likes motorcycles so much they decided to make a business of them.
The couple, married for eight years now, started A to Z Cycles Inc. in their garage in August 2009. They worked on motorcycles and sold parts on eBay, while both held full-time jobs.
Nowadays, the Cornwell’s have a full-blown store and shop – still called A to Z Cycles Inc. – at 1472 E. Lebanon Road in Dover.
They moved there in 2011 and have been doing repairs and maintenance, collision repair services and selling parts and merchandise geared toward motorcycle aficionados ever since.
MORE ABOUT A TO Z CYCLES
LOCATED at 1472 E. Lebanon Road in Dover.
SPECIALTIES Repair work, parts, equipment, clothes and just about anything else that says ‘motorcycle.’
STARTED BECAUSE We decided that we wanted our store to be a place that people could come to ask questions and get the parts or advice that they needed without worrying about being belittled or insulted.
What’s the best thing about having a business in Kent County?
Melissa Cornwell – I think the thing that’s become most satisfying is being a bigger part of the community and being able to help in different ways. Our biggest charity we support is Habitat for Humanity. We did a motorcycle run with them this past year and we’re already planning to do one for next year. It’s just great to feel like you’re a part of the community.
How would you describe the motorcycle customer base around Dover?
John Cornwell – It’s pretty large. The military and Dover Air Base has a large motorcycle community. I would say the base and all of the other individuals that are our customers are about equal [in terms of numbers]. A lot of [military customers] live off-base. There’s not many of them that live on-base. They are mostly family men.
What is the most unique aspect of your business?
John Cornwell – We repair motorcycles that have been in accidents for customers and their insurance companies, which is rare. Most shops don’t want anything to do with insurance work.
Melissa Cornwell – We also sell new aftermarket parts, we sell used parts, we do the clothing work, we do servicing, modifications, you could say a little bit of everything.
What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Melissa Cornwell – We’ve received a lot of advice, but the best advice is, if you’re going to start a business, make sure that you have some type of an income source while you’re in those beginning stages. It’s quite a juggling act but it’s definitely been worth it because we gave ourselves a very good foothold by doing it like that. It’s difficult, but it was definitely beneficial in the long run.