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  1. #26
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    I am comfortable with my approach to the NASHBAR (et.al.) vs LBS question. I buy locally unless for some reason I need something asap and can't afford LBS prices. I do this because my LBS is there for me in so many ways and I don't want them to go away. I won't list the reasons because I'm sure most of us already know what they are. And in addition to all the usual reasons my primary LBS sponsors the local club I ride with and the annual 25-50-100 mile ride (s) event we have to raise money for a local food bank. Now that I think of it, I'm VERY comfortable with my choice.

  2. #27
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    The subject of where to buy is not new. Nor, will it go away. After all we are talking about people's livelihood in the competitive market place. Whether to buy local or not and how much of a premium, if any, to give "local" businesses is often a hot topic in local government. It used to be very common to give "local" businesses a price subsidy when bidding on government contracts. When bidding on a government contract the local business would be considered the Low Bidder as long as their bid came within a certain percent of the actual low bid.

    As transportation and communication improved these preferences became increasingly difficult to administer. Is a branch of a regional or national business "local". Just what does the "local" business add to the item bought that justifies the additional cost? Just what is "local"? Is it the store just down the road, in the next town, in the metro area? Is it fair to take money from all citizens/taxpayers and give it to a single business?

    Our personal decisions are much the same. Is if fair to take money from our family to subsidize a business? I think not.

  3. #28
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    When we (note more than one) decide to make a cycling purchase or other, the budget is set. The questions of how much additional expertise is required and where do we get the most VALUE are then considered. Fairness is not relevant. It is not fair to spend joint money without joint approval but that is a totally different question.

    However, for many, a lower price means that the target budget is met. The higher value local store at a higher price may not work. One assumes that the budget takes into account current and long term cash requirements.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  4. #29
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    My responsibility as a customer is to be honest and fair in my expectations and behavior. I expect honesty and fairenss from any business, large or small. I have no responsibility to buy from any particular business. In a free market economy I am at liberty to buy from whomever I choose. My choice is dependent on quality, service, convenience, price, and the integrity of the seller.
    Trek 2300
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  5. #30
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Just to be clear here. When we use the term “local” business, I think we need to come to some agreement as to what constitutes such an entity. I propose the following:
    1. It is a business that is held privately and not publically traded.
    2. It is a business whose owner’s have a controlling interest and live in the region of the state, county, country, or territory in which the business exists.
    3. It has no corporate headquarters outside of the above mentioned region.
    4. It is one whose owners’ have full autonomy in the purchasing, operation, distribution, marketing and business branding.
    5. It is one that pays for its own rent, marketing, business operations, etc. without outside assistance from or payment to a corporate headquarters.

    Given the above definition, I would propose that there is a strong "relationship" issue that is relevant to me. So, now I can ask: "Do I support my neighbors, and does such support make my community stronger or not?" As someone who views where I live as a quality of life issue, these are important questions. As I write this, I also am aware that I may be one of the few folks I know that thinks my tax rate is too low. I would gladly pay more taxes to have better roads, bridges, schools, open space preservation, a stronger cycling infrastructure, etc. So, all of this boils down to one's values or what he or she sees as important. For me, money isn't everything. I grew up poor, but didn't know it at the time, because everyone around me was also poor. Yet, there was a sense of community that seems to be all but absent in many places today. We took care of one another in very real ways. When Mr. Ohl was laid off, my parents offered his family produce from our garden. When my father was laid off, Mr. Ohl offered to lend him money to buy coal for heating with no interest. We bought our milk and bread at Mr. Wallace's corner store because he was a neighbor and was part of our community. With these kinds of relationships I had experiences like being sent by my parents to buy milk and bread and being a bit short of what I needed for them. It was not a problem, becasue Mr. Wallace would say, "It's OK, I'll make up the difference this time." He knew my parents would send me back next week and the week after to continuing buying milk and bread there. So, I may be throwback to a time that exists in few places now, but I do feel some sense of obligation to maintain that same kind of relationship with my local LBS of choice. Finally, I love the fact that my LBS carries merchandise from local people in addition to their big name corporate offerings. Otherwise, I would never have found my ideal seatpost from Bold Percision handcrafted out of titanium by Mr. Albert Bold.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  6. #31
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    I have purchased 5 bicycles, saddles, helmets, shoes, many accessories and clothing from my preferred LBS. I feel no remorse by buying some selected items via the internet. The internet can often provide items not normally stocked in a more expeditious time frame.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    What do I owe my LBS? Currently, nothing. But when I need something for my bike, I'll go there and buy things, even at a premium. Essentially, I give them extra money for no good reason when I have a better value option available. .... They give me advice and guidance on repairs and wheel building. They advise me ..., they organize events and rides in my community....., they advocate for the interests of cyclists. ...
    In short the LBSs in my area do a lot of things "for no good reason," i.e., without a direct profit motive. I recognize that those things benefit me. So if I pay 10% or 20% more for something in the shop compared to what I would pay online, I don't mind doing it "for no good reason."
    .
    You're mixing up "price" with "value". You buy stuff at your LBS because they provide you a greater value than the online places.

    That is not "no good reason". Maximizing value is a basic economic principle and absolutely a "good reason". Your LBS does those things because they add value to customers directly and indirectly (by advocating, they promote cycling and increase their potential business base).

    None of what you wrote goes against the economic principle of getting the best value for your money.

    Often, the LBS's that go out of business (or don't get my business) is because they don't add enough value to justify their high prices. In my town, the general lack of value is in the cliche and marketing literature spouting idiots who they try to pass off as expert advisors in your purchases. The shop that actually knows what they're doing gets my business all the time and I couldn't care less what they charge (but interestingly, they are also savvy enough to know how to be reasonably competitive w/ pricing too).

  8. #33
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    What do I owe my LBS? Currently, nothing. But when I need something for my bike, I'll go there and buy things, even at a premium. Essentially, I give them extra money for no good reason when I have a better value option available.

    Of course, having an LBS around is beneficial. Because they do things for me for no good reason. They give me advice and guidance on repairs and wheel building. They advise me on parts I plan to buy, basically a sounding board with bike knowledge far deeper than mine. For no good reason, they organize events and rides in my community. For no good reason, they advocate for the interests of cyclists. For no good reason. . .
    This is not true of all bike shops, but it is for the few I patronize. Of course, there is an underlying good reason. It keep guys like us comming in.

  9. #34
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    Just to be clear here. When we use the term “local” business, I think we need to come to some agreement as to what constitutes such an entity. . .
    1. Pacific Coast cycles, Oceanside CA. Wholly owned by Chuck and his Wife Jackie, who are usually the only employees, except when Chuck gets to busy building custom bikes.

    2. Bicycle Wherehouse, San Diego, Oceanside, and I believe two other locations. It's growing, but started locally in SD.

    3. Performance Bicycle, Pretty big chain in Southern CA. The manager of the local store acts like he wants my business, and the locals who work there (except the one guy I have come to avoid) are friendly and helpful. It is also closest to my home.

    4. Jax Bikes, Long Beach and others throughout S. CA. Was my goto store when I was at school at CSULB. They've grown and now their Irvine store is closest to where I commute to work.

    I determine local based on my own perceptions preferences and values. Your results may vary.

  10. #35
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    I got into a discussion/argument here with a LBS owner. He claimed he took credit cards for customers convenience and they should be thankful to him. I felt he takes credit cards to stay competitive with other LBS (and on-line stores) and many customers wouldn't go to him if he didn't especially for larger dollar buys. He didn't seem to understand what it takes to be sucessful in todays business situation.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  11. #36
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HawkOwl View Post
    I expected, and got, the usual Big Box Store, or Chain Store, negativity. Actually they are very beneficial to the overall economy. What they do best is sell in quantity and then use that quantity as leverage to provide better prices. It is amazing once one starts looking how many service businesses are built around taking care of the products the big stores sell. It is also pretty humorous to read about patronizing the local business with bicycles when people don't take the same perspective about automobiles. Many times the car dealership may look local but in fact is part of a chain.
    Quackery. I think people forget, deny how many small businesses got pushed out by the big boxers. Some valued added, some did not, but these were your neighbors. In some cases, these were second generation businesses; now these owners are working jobs like the rest of the wage slaves.

    Same is happening to the LBS. You ask the guy that has operated a LBS for 30 years how he feels about Performance opening six blocks away last year, he'll tell you it devastated a large part of his revenue stream, and in order to survive he's becoming a niche business with a very narrow clientele. Yeah, he's thrilled to be a "service business" down the pipe from the big chain, sweeping up after the elephants so to speak.

    And the kicker; many of these big boxer businesses are the essential delivery systems for stuff made as cheaply as humanly possible, too often by slave labor in countries 8000 miles away. This is a race to the bottom paradigm, crap is the new normal and we pretend it's good for our economy.

  12. #37
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    "3. Performance Bicycle, Pretty big chain in Southern CA. The manager of the local store acts like he wants my business, and the locals who work there (except the one guy I have come to avoid) are friendly and helpful. It is also closest to my home."

    Based in N.C. with stores in 20 states. I would be surprised if more than 2% of what they sell/revenue is stuff made in North America. Brilliant marketing, ...the new "local".


  13. #38
    Member Surfmonkey's Avatar
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    Do not buy from big box stores when I can absolutely avoid it. Do not buy via internet any more. Do not buy via e-bay.
    Have reached the point that I like to put my hands on it, touch it, feel it, and make sure it is what I want.

    Basic reason for buying from local shops whether it is a lawn mower, bike, fishing gear, etc. is the opportunity for service, information, and building a relationship that pays off for both of us in the long run.

    Maybe because I am a bit older, i just like to look the people I do business with eye to eye and know who will be providing me service in the future.

  14. #39
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    No doubt the big regional, national and international businesses have had a strong impact on small businesses. Like it or not, we are in a global economy. I can't think of any country or region on the planet, let alone North America or Europe, that can exist without the rest of the globe. To not recognize and work to take advantage of the global economy is short sighted at best and dangerous to each individual and those depending on them.

    Still, there are small businesses, by whatever definition, that thrive because they have correctly analyzed and addressed the economic factors influencing them. Foremost among those factors is an understanding that a person's competition today may not be down the street, or in the next town, but halfway around the globe. If we don't like those factors we are free to work to change them. That is what successful businesses do.

    Given all that we still only owe any business, large, medium or small, what was posted in #1. In addition there is a strong argument that every dollar we pay from our family treasure to someone else that we don't have to pay is a violation of the good stewardship we owe to our family.

  15. #40
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    "3. Performance Bicycle, Pretty big chain in Southern CA. The manager of the local store acts like he wants my business, and the locals who work there (except the one guy I have come to avoid) are friendly and helpful. It is also closest to my home."

    Based in N.C. with stores in 20 states. I would be surprised if more than 2% of what they sell/revenue is stuff made in North America. Brilliant marketing, ...the new "local".
    O.K. Didn't know the full extent, only that they were big. That said, they are the one I frequent the least, not just because they are big and corporate, thought that is part of it. But I suspect they started out like Bike Warehouse, and Jax, and grew from that. Who am I to dis success?

    Yes, few bikes are made in the U.S., and very few costing under $4k. (My Masi is from Taiwan). Interestingly, Italy seems to be making a comeback as a source of bikes. Not surprising if you've been paying attention to Euro-nomics.

  16. #41
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    My LBS makes me not want to do business with an on-line company or mail order. They stock most, if not all the brands, I'm interested in. They allow long test rides. They have most of the clothes I need or want. Their mechanics are better than any place around. Their employees are always available to help and answer questions.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  17. #42
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    When I owned my own shop there was a local "club" that presented group bike rides. Sponsoring shops would purchase half price tickets to dispense to their customers. I actually had one fellow come into my shop just to ask for 5 tickets for himself and his friends. I only gave him 1. I told him the tickets cost me $5.00 each. Why should I pay $20.00 just so that 4 of his friends wouldn't have to come into my shop?

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