Local watch store redefines the art of time telling.
With all the recent buzz about shopping local and supporting local businesses, you may have wondered, “So what?” What does supporting local really mean? This week, we are highlighting a local watch business on a noble mission of connecting the community and redefining the art of time telling.
Zero Time Accessories, or more commonly known as ZTA, was founded by second generation Gujarati Canadian Prashant Patel in 2007. With humble beginnings, the shop opened its first storefront Oct 31, 2007 in Whistler BC. From there, it grew to a second location in Guildford Mall during Summer of 2009. The Whistler shop closed in 2012 and full efforts went into revamping the Guildford storefront. Currently, ZTA has one storefront on the upper floor of Guildford Mall, in Surrey B.C.
Why did you start this business?
I never expected to be a watch storeowner, but a summer job selling watches during high school turned into a passion for me and before I knew it, I wanted something of my own. I’ve been a watch enthusiast for most of my life. When I looked at everything available to customers, I noticed something was missing in retail. Many businesses lacked a personal touch and family feel. When I walk into a store, I want to be cared for and I really appreciate when retailers go above and beyond to make the shopping experience exceptional. That’s how I want my business to be.
I think it’s because I’m mechanical. I like anything with moving parts whether it’s fixing a toy or repairing a car. Also, watches hold a lot of special memories and history for people. They’re gifted to loved ones, or passed down as family history. I like being a part of that. I like selling a watch and knowing it’s global now. Who knows where it’s gone and who it’s been passed on to. Watches aren’t disposable. People take a lot of pride in their watch.
What services does your store provide?
We do a lot of in-store minor repairs and adjustments. We do batteries, band repair and adjustments, pin replacements etc. We also have an experienced watch-maker who can do just about any other repairs for us.
Why support local?
Part of it is, you’re feeding your own economy. But also, when you buy from me, you know where the money went. As much as you can buy from a large corporate business, you know I appreciate the sale and it’s beyond the dollars and cents.
What would you like readers to know about your store?
I think more than anything I want people to know that we actually know what we’re talking about. We spend a lot on time on product knowledge and expertise. We know what we sell. We want you to come in and ask questions and we will try our best to have an answer ready. And if we don’t know, we will find out for you. We love to learn every day. Customer care and satisfaction is our top priority. We want customers to trust in us. And we go the extra mile every day to do that.
What are some challenges in being a small, homegrown business?
I would say dealing with the bigger businesses. How do I compete with Amazon for example? The buying power they have and the ability to sell something for nothing is hard to compete with. But there are benefits to being a small business. I can make the decision to take care of a customer without getting approval from higher ups. I take the extra effort because it reflects on my business and it on me. With bigger stores, it becomes depersonalized. But with ZTA, we always keep it personal.
Any advice to other entrepreneurs?
I would say persistency. Don’t say no. Don’t take no for an answer, because honestly, there’s a lot of people who will look at me, and say “why and how are you doing this?” but you can’t take that as discouragement. It is a struggle to have a business but it’s yours. Do you want to work for someone else? Because it’s yours, you take so much more pride in it and it gives you that much more joy in return.
Any events/sales coming up that you’d like readers to know about?
On August 9-12th, we’re hosting a “Reimagine Your G SHOCK” event at our store. We want people to rediscover their old watches and fall in love with their watch again. You can come trade in your old or damaged G SHOCK for store credit towards a new G SHOCK watch. We’re also hosting a G SHOCK VIP event for G SHOCK enthusiasts and collectors to come in, connect with us, mingle, check out our new selection, and receive a G SHOCK loyalty t-shirt.
Customers who purchase any item during the event period will be entered for a chance to win a 35th anniversary limited editions Eric Haze G SHOCK. To attend the VIP event, customers must RSVP at the link http://ztaguildford.rsvpify.com. This will also make you eligible for a free G SHOCK t-Shirt.
What watch are you wearing right now?
It’s the G SHOCK MTG. The watch means a lot to me. It’s the 30th anniversary G SHOCK watch and it symbolizes my relationship with the brand. My store holds the largest selection of G SHOCK watches under one roof in Canada (over 200 different designs), and it’s the top-selling brand in my store.