Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 60
  1. #1
    Senior Member brunning's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    New York City
    My Bikes
    1999 Serotta Csi Custom, ~1984 Pinarello track bike
    Posts
    1,519
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    i can't help but think about opening a bike shop...

    in the williamsburg area of brooklyn.

    i know it's no way to get rich, but i've been thinking about the situation for a while and there is a huge need for a good shop in the area, especially one with friendly service, some lower priced rides, and sales and service for the huge local fixie community.

    there are two bike shops in the area, nyc bikes on havemeyer (just search BF to see what people think of them) and the bicycle doctor on grand street, another shop which has surly salespeople, limited selection and high prices.

    otherwise, there's nothing at all. there's a tiny used bike place out in bushwick, a few po-dunk bike shops here and there and a couple of pro race shops in south brooklyn.

    otherwise, people are going over the bridge to manhattan.

    it strikes me that almost everyone i know either owns a bike or wants to buy one. everyone is totally turned off by the two williamsburg shops and everyone asks me where to go. i really can't give them an answer unless they want to buy new and moderately pricey bikes.

    also, i can't count how many times i've been spotted by someone while locking up my SS conversion cross bike and they ask me "where can i get an old, simple bike converted to a single speed with brakes?"

    i have a feeling that if there were a local shop doing decent SS conversions and selling in the $300 range, there are a lot of bikes to be sold.

    i end up doing so much wrenching (typically in exchange for beer) and think that if this could translate into a real business in the neighborhood (with the help of a few talented individuals), a huge market of reasonably well-off, young and fun-loving city people is there for the taking.

    how insane an idea is this?

  2. #2
    Obeying Gravity
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Bellingham, WA
    Posts
    2,962
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think that would be an awesome idea. I WISH in my area (outside of sac, ca) had a decent, not expensive, laid back, cool shop. Not some stuck up, shop.

    i say go fo it, but its your decision

  3. #3
    Guest
    Guest
    Make sure you have enough money to do such a project. I read somewhere that 90% of businesses that fail (start ups) is due to lack of money. You may have a good idea, but if you don't have the capitol behind you, you won't make it.

    Koffee

  4. #4
    crotchety young dude el twe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    SF, CA
    My Bikes
    IRO Angus; Casati Gold Line; Redline 925; '72 Schwinn Olympic Paramount
    Posts
    4,818
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    More power to ya, buddy!
    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
    IRO Angus Casati Gold Line

  5. #5
    Senior Member larue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Madison, WI
    My Bikes
    Surly Pacer/Cutter/Viking
    Posts
    1,511
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Well if you have the money then go for it, just be aware your time will be consumed with other peoples bikes and not your own. I know a lot of lbs owners who don't ride as much as they'd like to.
    Leave your treadmill power trip behind.

  6. #6
    www.getafolder.com wpflem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Santa Fe & Gallup, New Mexico
    My Bikes
    Brompton T6, Trek 3700 Moutain Bike, Dahon Boardwalk 6
    Posts
    400
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by brunning
    ...i end up doing so much wrenching (typically in exchange for beer) and think that if this could translate into a real business in the neighborhood (with the help of a few talented individuals), a huge market of reasonably well-off, young and fun-loving city people is there for the taking.

    how insane an idea is this?
    If you have capital and are willing to risk underwriting a loss for a couple of years, it may make sense you for you; but beware, the overhead of running a LBS is high, competition intense, expectations of consumers quite high, and the failure rates of new shops are extraordinarily high.

    I just checked some stats from http://www.bicycleretailer.com/bicyc...statistics.pdf. The data is quite dated, but as follows:

    Total Bike Shops in USA:

    1997 7,000
    1998 6,000

    Ratio of start-ups to closings in 1997: 1:1
    Ratio of start-ups to cosings in 1998: 0.3:1

    My bet is that with the market penetration of the REI, Big Box Retailers, Performance, Nashbar, etc., current numbers are no better or worse. Does anyone have any more recent data?

    To emphasize the risks, I'll add that I have a friend who bought an established bike shop for less than $100, yes less than one hundred US dollars. Pitiful, the previous owner just wanted to get rid of that hole in his pocket as fast as he could.
    Celebrating Bicycling
    The Past, Present, and Future

    http://www.sfbikes.com or http://www.getafolder.com/

  7. #7
    Deported by koffee allgoo19's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    So. Cal
    Posts
    1,187
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by wpflem
    To emphasize the risks, I'll add that I have a friend who bought an established bike shop for less than $100, yes less than one hundred US dollars. Pitiful, the previous owner just wanted to get rid of that hole in his pocket as fast as he could.
    I believe you. It's not a good way to make a living. Around here, bike shop ownerships change all the time.

  8. #8
    militant commuter
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    lower manhattan
    Posts
    476
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    But this would be an atypical shop, I am not sure where you find used bikes you can SS and turn around for 300 bucks, but I would shop anywhere that didn't have the attitude problem I have found even at recycle a bike. Maybe you could mix the use of the space, or as I have discussed with others who are interested, rent out repair stand time like in SF (Freewheels, I think) (does anyone have experience with those shops?) I don't know much about startup costs for bike shops, but the niche you want to fill, there is a market for, and there are plenty of empty storefront spaces to put it in, if your were open till after the evening rush hour, off the WillyB, and people knew they could stop by for repair etc, I think you could make it past the doubters. Good Luck.

  9. #9
    .
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    .
    My Bikes
    .
    Posts
    3,094
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Notice those bike shop figures are pre dot-com crash too. The dot-bomb killed off a lot of the young yuppish demand for bikes. Also, it's been what, 6-7 years since those figures? And the Chinese makers have encroached that much more... It's a hard way to make a living, I'd start small and let it grow very slowly .... work out of your house and very slowly build up. That way you won't have to borrow money to get it going, and you don't want to borrow money - you'll have to pay it back, and that will make your life hell, trying to make a new biz go, with the added burden of paying back loans.

  10. #10
    Senior Member EnigManiac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Toronto
    My Bikes
    BikeE AT, Firebike Bling Bling, Norco Trike (customized)
    Posts
    1,258
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have considered doing the same thing here in Toronto, being more of a niche shop that would feature unusual, custom and collectable cruisers, choppers, etc. The problem is, there are a lot of bike shops in Toronto and they have exclusive agreements with the manufacturers for distribution, so it may be a tough go of it...tougher than usual that is.
    The slow down is accelerating

  11. #11
    Out of breath again. suntreader's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Myrtle Beach SC
    Posts
    645
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by nycm'er
    Maybe you could mix the use of the space
    Last week I went to a LBS in Cherry Grove SC that sold bikes and exotic birds (parrots, macaws, etc.) I walked into the place and a screaming parrot scared the h*ll out of me. It was definitely not your average LBS.

  12. #12
    Now with racer-boy font! Moonshot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    East Alabama
    My Bikes
    2004 Litespeed Tuscany, Trek 5500, Breezer Storm, Bianchi road bike (fixed)
    Posts
    1,272
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I couldn't deal with talking bikes all day with cyclists who just drop by to hang out. I'd have to pull the fire alarm or something eventually to get rid of them.

  13. #13
    eert a ekil yzarc SpiderMike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Pasadena TX
    My Bikes
    many bikes
    Posts
    2,559
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Moonshot
    I couldn't deal with talking bikes all day with cyclists who just drop by to hang out. I'd have to pull the fire alarm or something eventually to get rid of them.

    Ha ha. But I am sure we have all been guilty of this at least once or twice.

  14. #14
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington, DC
    My Bikes
    Redline Conquest, Cannonday, Specialized, RANS
    Posts
    1,929
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Have you ever worked in a bike shop? You might want to try that first if you haven't. It might change your perspective.

  15. #15
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    n.w. superdrome
    My Bikes
    1 trek, serotta, rih, de Reus, Pogliaghi and finally a Zieleman! and got a DeRosa
    Posts
    17,625
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think its a good idea.
    from what I can tell Brunnig isn't talking about
    taking on REI, Performance, RAcycles, but a shop
    like Yojimbo's garage in Chitown. (right?)
    more a messenger, fixie, not high dollar shop.
    Investment would be rent for shop,
    tools fixtures etc. and stock. . .
    shouldn't be too bad.

    Marty
    Sono pił lento di quel che sembra.
    Odio la gente, tutti.

    Are you a registered member? Why not? click here to register. Its free, and only takes 27 seconds!
    Want to upgrade your membership? Click Here.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Mueslix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    SuckaFree City
    My Bikes
    chopper, Team Fuji, Velo Orange Polyvalent
    Posts
    340
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You'd be in a good position to take advantage of all the hipsters. What about a co-op?

  17. #17
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington, DC
    My Bikes
    Redline Conquest, Cannonday, Specialized, RANS
    Posts
    1,929
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    In my old neighborhood there was a "youth community bike shop." It was to bike shops the way that teaching hospitals are to for-profit hospitals. Their primary focus was on teaching bike repair, primarily to teenagers. They sold no new bikes. They sold accessories and provided repairs to the general public. They accepted donations of bikes, which they fixed and sold as well.

    I think they have a much more sustainable business model than a typical retail bike shop. They were incorporated as a non-profit, so donors could deduct the value of donated bikes (They actually got so many bikes that storage was a problem and they had to turn them away). Since they had an educational purpose, they were eligible for grants from foundations, which was the primary source of funding. This allowed the staff to focus on spreading knowlege and love of cycling instead of chasing the last dollar -- or at least, allowed them to chase different, easier dollars.

    I can put you in contact with them if you are interested.

  18. #18
    Senior Member brunning's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    New York City
    My Bikes
    1999 Serotta Csi Custom, ~1984 Pinarello track bike
    Posts
    1,519
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    right, i'm not talking about a shop that would sell online or be a major retailer of high-end stuff. something more in the vein of trackstar or bikeworks, but sort of specifically designed to meet the needs (and aesthetic) of the community in which it would be located.

    it's hard to explain to someone who doesn't know the neighborhood, but i feel that if the business had the kind of bubbly, hip, open and friendly kind of "boutique" attitude so pervasive in many other williamsburg businesses, it would do well.

    people who live and shop in this neighborhood are familiar with these businesses, trust them and already know how to relate to them. when one of these people walks in to the Bicycle Doctor, they're inside a narrow, dark and dusty little shop where the staff is behind a wall of bikes and no one asks if they can help you for 5 minutes. not a good fit.

    i've never worked in a bike shop, but i've spent a lot of time in them, have many friends who have worked in them, and think that with my past business experience, and some friends' past retail storefront-type experience, it could happen.

    of course money is the main problem. the only business i've owned was business service-based and i already owned a lot of the appropriate equipment. there was no storefront, no inventory and no employees other than the three business partners, so startup costs were very low. i would totally fear taking out a loan for this...

    mixed-use is a great idea, though. bikes, clothing, fashion, music and many other things go hand-in-hand and could help carry the shop through the winter months.

    thanks for the thoughts, all.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    London
    My Bikes
    Thorn Club Thorn
    Posts
    252
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    lilHinault idea is to my mind right, you dont know the ins & out of the Bike Business, best go work in one, even if it for the weekend. If it is a serious project you want to undertake, then its worth doing. See which disributors are willing to deal with you, and as for borrowing money to start business, well thats a real catch 22. Never use your house as collatrol, all fails you still got your house. When I started my business, I borrowed of my Visa card, my limit then was £10,000.00, The same limit was on my master card, so I borrowed on one card, invested the money in stock, when my payment was up I would draw on the other card to pay in full the other off. This way my intrest charges were never applied and each month I would draw of one to pay for the other. Till eventually the i put in money the business generated and eventually I did not need the cards, Only borrow what you can payback if all goes to pot, also for 2 years I worked night, driving taxi in London, get a few hours sleep and run my office in the day time, If you can supplement your earnings so you do not have to pull a wage of the business it will go a long way.

    Why dont you start with just fixing bikes, part time, but I would serioulsy consider working in a shop first.

    Good luck anyhow

  20. #20
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    My Bikes
    2 many
    Posts
    13,725
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Can you afford to live and put money into something that may run at a loss for a while? Possibly too long?
    If you can afford to do that, then it's worth a try. No bike shop I know of makes much money.
    Being in a big city may be just what you need to have enough bussiness.
    Can you do two or three things at once and talk to a customer at the same time?

  21. #21
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington, DC
    My Bikes
    Redline Conquest, Cannonday, Specialized, RANS
    Posts
    1,929
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Here's a story about someone who gave away a bike shop:
    http://www.herald-mail.com/?module=d...83&format=html

    Most bike shop owners claim not to make any money on the shop.

  22. #22
    Recumbent Evangelist
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Kitchener, Ontario
    My Bikes
    Rebel Cycles Trike, Trek 7500FX
    Posts
    2,991
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Could you operate out of your garage (if you have one) for a while to see how it goes? If you want to sell custom fixies then you don't really need a whole shop, just a place to build and sell a few bikes at a time. Another option would be to hollow out your basement for this purpose, much like home-based hairdressers.

  23. #23
    Retired Member ultra-g's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Queens New York
    My Bikes
    Bianchi Pisa, LeMond Poprad
    Posts
    1,181
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm planning on opening one in New Mexico or something... not now, but when I'm around 40 years old. (still have over 10 years to save up!) a bike shop that also serves really good coffee/breakfast/lunch... that's my dream.
    I Changed My User Name!

  24. #24
    www.getafolder.com wpflem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Santa Fe & Gallup, New Mexico
    My Bikes
    Brompton T6, Trek 3700 Moutain Bike, Dahon Boardwalk 6
    Posts
    400
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ultra-g
    I'm planning on opening one in New Mexico or something... not now, but when I'm around 40 years old. (still have over 10 years to save up!) a bike shop that also serves really good coffee/breakfast/lunch... that's my dream.
    Wow that is ambitious. Tom Rael, a really good character, owns the Sun Mountain Bike Co. in Santa Fe. It's mostly rental, but he does do some sales. He had the business combined with a coffee/breakfast/lunch shop, but sold the latter a year or so ago and now only runs the bike rental. He would be a good contact person to keep in mind.

    http://www.sunmountainbikeco.com/sun/rentals.html
    Celebrating Bicycling
    The Past, Present, and Future

    http://www.sfbikes.com or http://www.getafolder.com/

  25. #25
    www.getafolder.com wpflem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Santa Fe & Gallup, New Mexico
    My Bikes
    Brompton T6, Trek 3700 Moutain Bike, Dahon Boardwalk 6
    Posts
    400
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by suntreader
    Last week I went to a LBS in Cherry Grove SC that sold bikes and exotic birds (parrots, macaws, etc.) I walked into the place and a screaming parrot scared the h*ll out of me. It was definitely not your average LBS.
    Yea, I had to sell off my Hyacinth Macaw last year, he was just way too loud. Plus, he could make mince meat of a Brooks Saddle or chew through any tire in a flash.
    Celebrating Bicycling
    The Past, Present, and Future

    http://www.sfbikes.com or http://www.getafolder.com/

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •