IT’S a case of “have bike, will do business” for Andy Huntley who has come up with a novel venture.
The 49-year-old from Seaton Carew was a phone store manager. Then he developed agonising headaches and was diagnosed with glaucoma. He couldn’t see the small letters in texts any more, or use computers too well.
But instead of pondering on what his next job would be, he took the initiative - and got on his bike, and now Andy is running his own firm called On The Spot - offering everything from car washes to polishes from the back of his cycle.
“My partner thought I was nuts when I first started this,” said Andy, whose partner Claire Fortune, 47, works for Tesco in Billingham. “But then I tried it and proved to us both that there was something there and now she is fully supportive.”
Andy’s wash-on-the-move scheme operates around the Hartlepool Marina area. He said: “I had only ever had three jobs before this but I was getting really bad headaches which would stay with me for days.”
Andy needed brain scans and numerous other investigations before tests showed he had glaucoma in both eyes. Medication is now helping to control his condition and his eyes are no longer deteriorating.
But the problem means he can no longer do the job of a phone shop manager because of the small texts that he can no longer read. Instead, he has taken his future into his own hands by becoming an entrepreneur.
He said: “I thought to myself ‘I can do this instead of going through job hunting at 49 years old’.”
He started off with a trolley that he pulled round by hand and then had a bespoke unit made. Now, he has a bike with a specialised box which contains all his equipment as well as 18-volt batteries for his vacuum and pressure washer.
“I am pretty self-sufficient,” said Andy who is licensed to trade on the streets and offers services from £5.50 upwards.
Andy had praise for both the Hartlepool Enterprise Centre, in Brougham Terrace, and town company Amacus. He said he had turned to the enterprise centre for help.
Staff at the centre put him in touch with Amacus who enrolled him on an eight-week course. Andy said: “It was invaluable and I can’t praise Amacus and the enterprise centre enough.”
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