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Old 12-21-12, 09:46 AM   #1
NOS88
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The LBS as the modern day barber shop?

“Men like to socialize as much as women and barbershops have always been the place to go. Visiting the barbershop was a weekly and sometimes daily habit. Men would stop not only for a haircut or shave, but also to talk with friends and chew the fat.” ----- And so begins the opening of an online site discussing Germans from Russia heritage.

So, I’m curious about how many of us have a LBS that is more in sync with what is described above. Is it a place to hang and “chew the fat”, or is it something else?

I ask, in part, because yesterday I found myself thinking, “I might just shoot on over to the bike shop to see what’s going on.” I didn’t really need anything. I just wanted to stop in and say hello to the folks there. I wouldn’t stay long, may 10 to 15 minute. But in that short time I would be greeted with smiles and a few laughs would be had. I’d probably pick up an extra inner tube on the way out. But, if I’m really honest with myself, that’s not why I’d go.
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Old 12-21-12, 10:25 AM   #2
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Yep, I've stopped in to chat. Sometimes I end up buying something. The owner doesn't seem to mind as he's stated before that he appreciates all the business I've given him. I know I don't spend as much as many of his customers, but he knows I prefer to buy from him rather than someone else, even if it possibly costs me a little more. Often he'll meet or beat a price I've mentioned.
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Old 12-21-12, 10:44 AM   #3
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I find myself going there infrequently to talk with staff. I think it would be a great idea for them to set aside a small place to sit, have coffee and talk cycling. I might even suggest it.
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Old 12-21-12, 10:56 AM   #4
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From the other side, I appreciate the being part of the community*, When I moved here, there was a couch and a table with magazines on it, now newer management , infilled with more inventory.



..* or what is left of community, as competition for zero sum, primitive accumulation overwhelms it.
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Old 12-21-12, 11:30 AM   #5
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For at least one friendly and hospitable LBS owner the barbershop effect posed enough of a problem for his business that he first hid the coffee pot and finally removed all seating. He considered them sweet old guys but grew tired of providing a club house.
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Old 12-21-12, 11:42 AM   #6
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Sounds like a Hot Stove League without an interesting subject (to me) like baseball or football to discuss. I'd rather watch a movie or football game on TV with my wife. Don't feel obligated to buy something either.
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Old 12-21-12, 11:50 AM   #7
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Off Lexington Road was once located Cyclers Cafe. It was a combination of bike store and taco stand. It was a great place to grab a taco after a ride. The mayor would also often have lunch there. That was good, because he was a cycling enthusiast and added a lot to the cycling infrastructure.

Alas, it was one of the zillions of small businesses that bit the dust over the past four years.
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Old 12-21-12, 11:54 AM   #8
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Tavern/ bike shop combo.. so sitting around, BS-ing there is still having a commodity to sell ..
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Old 12-21-12, 11:56 AM   #9
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For at least one friendly and hospitable LBS owner the barbershop effect posed enough of a problem for his business that he first hid the coffee pot and finally removed all seating. He considered them sweet old guys but grew tired of providing a club house.
Yep...we guys don't have the quilting, knitting or crotcheting places that women our age have.
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Old 12-21-12, 12:10 PM   #10
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The LBS as the modern day barber shop?

Not a chance. Barbershops were full of real men who wore plaid flannel, hunted and fished, read Playboy and drank whiskey in camp. Bike shop denizens wear gayly-colored spandex and pretend that riding foo-foo, overpriced kids' toys really means something.
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Old 12-21-12, 12:17 PM   #11
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I hit my LBS 4-5 times a week. Typically its just social. If he's busy, I make myself scarce pretty quickly. If not, I might spend an hour or two. I live in a resort area, so usually things go pretty slowly in the cold months.
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Old 12-21-12, 12:52 PM   #12
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Not a chance. Barbershops were full of real men who wore plaid flannel, hunted and fished, read Playboy and drank whiskey in camp. Bike shop denizens wear gayly-colored spandex and pretend that riding foo-foo, overpriced kids' toys really means something.
I'd be hesitant to go into a barber shop and ask to have my legs shaved.
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Old 12-21-12, 01:28 PM   #13
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This concept of LBS-as-barber-shop was the whole point of Maynard Hershon's classic Winning magazine columns (and subsequent book) Tales from the Bike Shop.
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Old 12-21-12, 01:55 PM   #14
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This concept of LBS-as-barber-shop was the whole point of Maynard Hershon's classic Winning magazine columns (and subsequent book) Tales from the Bike Shop.
I was not aware of this. I'll have to look for the book.
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Old 12-21-12, 01:59 PM   #15
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In larger areas, many bike shops serve this function and have even go as far as to have coffee bars installed in their shops, among other amenities. There's one like this Piermont, NY, which is a frequent stop for NYC-area cyclists, and Toga in nearby Nyack offers this function. There's also several other places in Nyack that go far to attract cyclists. Generally, the people who grumble about the crowds that gather at these places are those who are shopping for something else and/or own some kind of shop that doesn't attract cyclists.
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Old 12-21-12, 02:22 PM   #16
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I drop by occasionally, and Kurt knows be by name, and is very friendly, and always introduces me to whoever might also be there. However it is a very small shop, and both Kurt and I know that time is money to him - he has a clientele with no shortage of money, provides top-quality work in an area where the average household income is $125,000+, and is much in demand, and charges accordingly. His is a relatively new bike shop in the area, and specializes only in road bikes.

So, I say hi, spend a couple of minutes shooting the breeze and then say goodbye. He knows he will not get rich off of me, but he also knows I have lots of contacts. And, he is a very nice and decent person (former pastor for 20 years). I don't know how a barbershop-type LBS could survive for long.

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Old 12-21-12, 02:55 PM   #17
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Heck, I stop in just to do interviews. My bud started his own shop so I spoke with him a while (video 1 of 3)

But when I do stop in to buy something, Gina will visit the surrounding shops in the area knowing that getting a tube can take an hour.

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Old 12-21-12, 03:41 PM   #18
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My brother goes to the country club every sat and sun morning for breakfast and to pick a game (golf). I've often wished a similar thing existed for bike rides. I'd go hang out for an early coffee and see who showed up looking for a ride partner.
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Old 12-21-12, 04:01 PM   #19
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Mine, the one I go to and support with ALL of my business, has a counter in front of the mechanic's area with stools around it. It's where people congregate and chat while the mechanic does his mechanic stuff... They openly and directly invite people to stop in and then thank them for coming when they leave.
... they form an informal support group for local cyclists...

Conversely, a sister shop owned by the same person does not invite conversation at all. It's all business. If you don't plan on buying something you don't go in... But, on the flip side, they also organize and sponsor a number of group rides -- so it's not like they aren't supporting the sport.

But, of the two, I prefer the first kind.
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Old 12-21-12, 04:43 PM   #20
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Not a chance. Barbershops were full of real men who wore plaid flannel, hunted and fished, read Playboy and drank whiskey in camp. Bike shop denizens wear gayly-colored spandex and pretend that riding foo-foo, overpriced kids' toys really means something.
This whole barbershop thing is really chapping my hide. I've been bald since I was 32. How is THIS supposed to make me feel? And I sometimes put some vodka in my caramel macchiatos when I want to throw caution to the wind. Doesn't that count for something?
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Old 12-21-12, 05:03 PM   #21
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Not a chance. Barbershops were full of real men who wore plaid flannel, hunted and fished, read Playboy and drank whiskey in camp. Bike shop denizens wear gayly-colored spandex and pretend that riding foo-foo, overpriced kids' toys really means something.
I can see it now. an army surplus, guns and ammo,hunting, fishing, ATV, bike shop.
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Old 12-21-12, 05:10 PM   #22
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I did the Bike Shop as Barber Shop bit this morning after I left the office. I knew that the mechs would be busy assembling bikes but Tom always enjoys chatting between customers. I always stay out of the way and when a customer is asking him or the other guys/gals a question or buying something I stay out of ear shot and mind my own business. They have boxes of Clif Bars and Honey Stingers out for individual sale and he ends up giving away many to buyers and regulars. We reminisce about the "old days in the 70's", today's topic was wool shorts with real leather chamois and how much more comfortable they were and old school crocheted back leather riding gloves (he has these in stock BTW.)

I am also lucky enough to have an honest to God barber shop I use, 4 male barbers, hunting and fishing magazines, newspapers, football memorabilia and televisions on hunting channels. If you don't think hunters and fishermen have toys you need to get in on a discussion about boats or ATV's and their gear that they buy like we do components, upgrade city. And I have on Khakis and a plaid sports shirt with work boots when I am there, Lycra kit would not work, as mentioned above.

Dudel, you want some cheese to go with that?

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Old 12-21-12, 05:36 PM   #23
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I can see it now. an army surplus, guns and ammo,hunting, fishing, ATV, bike shop.
Have it all right here. Everything but the bikes. A true ATF shop. The wooden bar was originally used at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair and is a real beauty.
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Old 12-21-12, 06:00 PM   #24
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Maybe the LBS in my neighborhood has a social aspect to it. The mechanics are always friendly and helpful. Guess I'm not much of a conversationalist. I usually just go in, do my biz, and leave. Never went in just to chat.

BTW: I cut my own hair.

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Old 12-21-12, 06:15 PM   #25
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The bike shop that used to be closest to my house was definitely one of those hang out and chat places. Unfortunately, they closed. There's another one downtown that's kind of like that, but it's 10 miles away. I still stopped in for a while on today's ride.
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