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Old 04-18-06, 05:25 AM   #1
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Bike shop start up

Hello All,
I live in a medium sized college town in central FL. We have a small, mostly BMX shop but nothing else within 10 miles. The shop 10 to 12 miles away is a good shop mainly dealing in mountain bikes with a good service reputation. Our whole "4 towns area" has a population of about 100,00.
I am considering starting a shop downtown within 6 blocks of the campus and right in the middle of town.
ANY comments and/or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.
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Old 04-18-06, 06:45 PM   #2
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Are you a cyclist/bicycle advocate of any kind? Or just a guy who wants to make some money. Not that there's anything technically wrong with the latter, but I can always tell when I go to an LBS where the owner actually cares about bikes and cyclists.
You said college town...which could bring up problems competing with the other shop, depending on how bike friendly the market there is. Most college students shop the "mountain bike" category because they are cheaper, and more like what they know from being kids, or see in most "extreme" sport pictures. If you plan to specialize in nice roadies...that may be a problem, depending on the locality.
Beyond that, I don't know if this message board is necessarily the best place to find good market research. There are some shop owners and workers who are members, but there are many variables that can be locality specific. Maybe some locals for you are on here and can chime in?
Good night...and good luck
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Old 04-18-06, 08:52 PM   #3
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Been biking for about 30 years. Own several "vintage" touring bikes including an old Paramount but really love my DX 5000. I worked for the local Schwinn and Raleigh dealers at one time or another during the late seventies and early eighties. No, I don't ride 300 miles a weekend or anything on that order, but I always have and always will (as long as I can) ride. I have toured Wyoming and California back in my younger days.
As far as being an "advocate".....I'm not sure exactly what you mean. I am not active in any clubs because I like to go where I want to go when I want to go. Don't take me wrong, I am FAR from being's just my quite time.
Do I expect to get rich..............HELL NO! But if I can enjoy myself, make a decent living, and have a business worth selling in 15 years..I'll be more than happy.
I have lived in this town for 47 years and just plain think that we need a decent shop.
Thanks for your input and hope to hear more form any and all.
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Old 04-18-06, 10:46 PM   #4
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You might start something part-time in you garage. Check with the Small Business Administration for advice and your town hall for needed permits. Joind all local clubs and ride with them, comes under advertising. Ask what people need like repairs, tubes, tires and stock what will sell. There has got to be an association of bike shop owners somewhere. Contact them.
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Old 04-20-06, 04:43 PM   #5
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Good luck man.....would be a dream to work on and sell bikes for a living.
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Old 04-20-06, 05:08 PM   #6
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Check out the National Bicycle Dealers Association web-site. They have lots of informaiton available as well as in depth Cost of Doing Business survey's that will help with assembling a business plan. I respect you courage to tackle what I have wanted to do for year, but fear not being able to feed my wife and child. You know what they say about bike shops...if you want to make a million dollars selling bikes....then start with 2 million.NBDA Site <-- check for the section titled "So you want to start a bike shop"

Local Small Business Administration is a great source for information that will help. I found that meeting with a lawyer while setting up my first company helped clear up the legal and tax implications of the different types of businesses that were allowed (Sole proprietor, partnership, S-Corp, LLC, etc.)
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Old 04-20-06, 05:39 PM   #7
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Where I live there's 9 specialist cycle stores for a population of about 300,000 (Canberra) plus a number of sport/department stores selling bicyles so the town is most likely big enough to support another store.

I would be thinking very hard about the rent you will have to pay. Starting a new business in a high rent/long lease situation is a serious risk and I would deffinitely look for cheaper rent/shorter leases inorder to establish yourself in the market. Many new, small business operators have brought there whole financial futures undone when a small business has failed but they were left with contractual arangements to pay rent.

Regards, Anthony
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Old 04-23-06, 03:03 PM   #8
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Thanks everybody for your input so far. I have been to the NBDA site several times now and picked up a lot of good info. I'll put in a call to the SBA tomorrow and get there input.
I hear you Anthony, on the rent thing...I AM looking for a short term type program for now.
Thanks again for the input!
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Old 04-23-06, 04:06 PM   #9
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AnthonyG has a good point. The LBS is our town that went for the low rent corner shop center (really 50's) is the survivor. Two nice shops in high rent situations went belly up. bk
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Old 04-24-06, 07:36 PM   #10
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Get a job in that store and see if they are actually making money. Do not assume that the boss is raking it in.
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