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Showing Springfield Like Never Before: Ride Eway Scooters

Marquez Williams always had an entrepreneurial mindset and knew he wanted to start his own business. But he wasn’t exactly sure what kind of business he wanted to run. He started a t-shirt business, a moving company and even started an Uber-like service before it was “Uber.”

Then the road to Eway, LLC just opened up for him. Williams and his brother, Tray Northern, visited Tulsa, OK. There, they noticed a new means of transportation in the downtown area, E-scooters.

“We were hanging out and saw these scooters and started talking. ‘This would be crazy in Springfield. It’s such a flat ground area and not too many hills,’” Williams remembers. “It was one of those situations where I knew instantly what I wanted to do.”

They came back to Springfield and immediately reached out to several e-scooter companies to see if there was a possibility of getting the scooters to Springfield. However, Springfield just wasn’t a big enough market for those companies.

That was all the brothers needed to hear: They would target markets with populations of 300,000 or less. With Eway, they would bring scooters to previously overlooked areas especially in the Midwest.

Finding a new home for Eway
Eway launched on Sept. 9, 2021, in a strip mall on South Campbell several miles south of the downtown area.

“It wasn’t an ideal convenient location,” Williams said. “If you wanted to use a scooter, you had to come to our office, pay and then load a scooter up and drive it somewhere.”

With the natural beauty of the Ozarks, the Greenways trails, and the parks systems, Eway did find a sliver of their market willing to do the trek to southside SGF. Downtown was the place they wanted to grow, though.

In 2022, Eway found its downtown home at efactory. In addition to finding a space to operate the small business from, Williams has sought business support from the consultants at the Missouri SBDC.

The support goes beyond projections, plans, paperwork and strategy. Williams is thankful for the environment and the networking opportunities he’s found at efactory.

Williams points out that networking intimidates many people more than operating a business, but that networking is essential to growing a business.

“Maybe this person really can help you out down the road,” he said. “If I could say anything to anybody as far as starting a business, I would say do it. There are a lot of businesses that are still needed in Springfield, but also in the world. Talk to people and find an idea that could be your business.”

Building a new commute style
Eway now has 33 scooters in operation, mostly in downtown Springfield. And they’re working on a plan to more than double that inventory.

“If you’re taking public transportation, it’s usually about a mile walk to a bus stop and then a mile walk from the bus to your destination. That was the initial gap a lot of scooter companies were wanting to close. And then it started to become more of a leisure thing,” Williams said.

“Scooters allow you to get to where you need to go on your time, without having to share your ride with someone – even your driver. It’s there to help you be free to explore the city.”

By Paige Paxton
UniteNews Contributing Writer

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