In the market for new transportation?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 27, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

This past June, Vanessa Jacobs was minding shop at Skelo Sports Wear at 425 West Washington Street, Suite 2 (925-7119). Her son Abdul, the owner of the clothing store, had headed up to New York to find some new products for his establishment, and she was left to help the customers.

Suddenly, the telephone seemed to nearly launch itself out of its cradle. Startled, Vanessa reached over and heard her son’s shouting voice.


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&uot;He said, ‘Mom, you’ve got to see these!’&uot; Vanessa recalls. &uot;He was just checking around, and he saw a scooter.&uot; These electric scooters, which utilize the same technology as F-16 fighter jets and travel between 25 and 30 miles per hour, are constructed of aerospace-grade aluminum, can carry up to 260 pounds, and have an ABS interlock breaking system.

&uot;It grabbed his heart,&uot; Vanessa says. &uot;He was like a kid at Christmas.&uot; When Abdul brought his new &uot;toy&uot; back down to Virginia, he took it for a spin on the Virginia Beach oceanfront boardwalk.

&uot;People kept crowding around him,&uot; says his mother. &uot;He was going up and down the street, and people were crazy about it.&uot; Crazy enough so that Abdul decided to make scooters an honorary type of sportswear at his store.

&uot;People just starting coming in,&uot; says Vanessa, who sheepishly admits that the bikes have been outselling the clothing. &uot;It’s going to be a really big thing for Christmas, and then again in January, when people start getting their early tax returns.&uot;

Why are the products so popular? She can think of a few answers.

&uot;I guess it’s because they’re cute!&uot; Vanessa exclaims with a smile. &uot;They’re convenient for people with no driver’s licenses that don’t feel like walking. You can break them down and fit them in a car trunk; there’s luggage bigger than these bikes.&uot; The vehicles range between $375 and $425, and the store is temporarily offering layaway plans.