Port City Moped Revs Up for Summer With Intuit Grant

by Michael Essany

2 min read

A hundred years after his great-grandfather opened the first Schwinn bicycle dealership in the city of Charleston, S.C., Jordan Chaplin decided to enter the family business.

He’d met his future business partner, Dave Jarman, in 2010, while both were employed by a national car-rental service. The pair recently quit their jobs to follow in Granddad’s footsteps by offering a newer form of two-wheeled transportation.

In February, the young entrepreneurs opened Port City Moped on the Isle of Palms — a beautiful Atlantic barrier island (and city) that attracts tens of thousands of visitors annually. Because the seven-mile-long, one-mile-wide island lacks ample parking for cars, a moped rental business seemed like a bankable venture. The partners went all-in.

“[We] quit our jobs and spent all of our money trying to open up this business,” Jarman says. “You have to give everything you have in order to show everyone around you that you’re willing to give what it takes to make your business work.”

Just three months out, demand for mopeds on the Isle of Palms is so strong that the startup already needs to add more vehicles to its fleet. “Right now, we have 13 rentable units,” Jarman says. “We need more mopeds for people to rent.”

Looking to rev up for the busy summer season, Jarman entered Port City Moped into Intuit’s Small Business Growing Strong campaign.

“We cashed our 401(k)s and all of our savings combined to get a rental fleet and a store,” his wish entry explains. “We’ve had a great response from the community, but need more scooters to meet the demand. We work seven days a week and won’t pay ourselves until we reach our fleet goal.

“Five thousand dollars is all we need to maximize our fleet and make every visitor on the island happy. Customer service is our number one priority, and the last thing we want to do is turn people away. Please help!”

Help is on the way: Intuit is granting his wish.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Jarman says. “I’m speechless. … With this grant, we will be able to get another seven or eight mopeds. It’s basically a 30 or 40 percent increase in our fleet.”

Jarman hopes that, beyond expanding the fleet, serving customers honorably and well will fuel Port City Moped’s success. “We just try to be honest and nice to other people,” he says, “because I think it comes around — and instances like this prove it.”

Intuit’s Small Business Growing Strong campaign is announcing one winner a day through May 24, 2013. Check out the list of current winners, and find out if yours is one of the wishes we’ve granted!

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