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Old 11-20-08, 03:48 PM   #1
defiancecp
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Bike "dealerships"??

So there's a building across the street from my house that used to be a rug store or some such niche store, and it went out of business last year or so. A few weeks ago I noticed an Orbea banner hanging in the window and drove by and woo-hoo! New bike shop!

But as it came closer to time to open up (their grand opening is Saturday), I began to notice that there weren't any other signs going up. Walking by it, I've noticed that every single bike I can see is Orbea, and they don't seem to have much in the way of accessories (looks like a small rack) or tools or anything, and their shop space looked tiny too.

Given that they open Saturday and it's still like this, the only thing I can think of is that they're exclusively an Orbea dealer.

To me this seems stupid; There are at least 4 or 5 other large bike shops in town (Little Rock), but there's still plenty of market to go around ... but given that one of the other bike shops already sells Orbea, and the brand really serves mostly just really high end, and given that it doesn't look like they do much in the way of other services/accessories, do they really have much of a chance?

I want to get excited because, hey, it's a bike shop *across the street!* ... But I can't help feeling a bit disappointed because it seems like they're doomed

I'll definitely be checking it out Saturday, so I'll find out more then - maybe I'm getting the wrong impression from outside
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Old 11-20-08, 04:07 PM   #2
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Depends on whether there's a market niche. We have a dealer in our little town that deals in Bianchi and Pinarello. While I'd love to see them make a go of it, the redneck pickup driving gun toting tobacco chewing Wal-Mart shopping majority in this area is going to make it difficult for them. The two other LBS's can barely sell a road bike (MTB's and Hybrids) much less high end stuff.

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Old 11-20-08, 04:08 PM   #3
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I have noted that bike distributors do not seem to go in for exclusive dealerships, ie no competition within x miles. This is unlike auto makers who normally allow no other dealers for their brand within a given radius of a granted dealership.

A bike shop IMO cannot survive with only one make of bike, particularly if higher end, and with an established dealer for the same brand within competitive distance.
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Old 11-20-08, 04:33 PM   #4
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It may make financial sense if the dealership is owned by Orbea.
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Old 11-20-08, 07:01 PM   #5
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Might it be a distributor/whse for the brand, with minimal signage and only a few "eye-candy" bikes at the front windows? I work in Huntington Beach, CA where Nirve and Phat are located (just about 2 miles apart) and they both have pretty non-descript buildings with only small signs on their doors.
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Old 11-20-08, 08:03 PM   #6
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Just walked over for another look, they had about 30 bikes on stands in the showroom, absolutely all orbea (nice bikes, too ). All stickers, all signage, *everyting* orbea. On the other hand, their hours listed were odd; Wed-Sat, 9-6. It can't really be a warehouse; the building is a strip of several businesses, and each one is maybe 1000 sq ft. All showroom, all visible from the window.

The wife said they were open today, so I'll try to get a chance to check them out tomorrow. Looks like I'm going to be disappointed, though; I was hoping for a real lbs, not a dealership type thing, which it looks like this is.



Even stranger - I thought I'd go to orbea's web site to see whether the place was listed yet, and it wasn't - nearest place to me was Chainwheel, the Orbea dealer I mentioned earlier - but the site also listed an Orbea facility in N. Little Rock a couple miles away. I street viewed that place, and it looks like that's already a warehouse in the area (big dull metal warehouse, small orbea storefront).

Honestly, I may have seen a dozen orbea bikes riding around this area, but apparently someone thinks there's a LOT of sales potential here
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Old 11-21-08, 12:54 AM   #7
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We have a bike shop in town that used to deal in several makes (cannondale, khs, and jamis) recently they stopped dealing in khs and cannondale, and instead deal only Jamis. I stopped in there a few weeks ago to check it out and found they had about 5 bikes total on the floor, 1 high end cannondale MTB, and a couple of Jamis road bikes, and 1 recumbent (not sure of make), what I don't understand is how they stay in buisiness with 1 very large bike shop about 10 minutes away, Sun and ski with a very large bike shop and great selection less than 5 minutes away, and a Dicks and Sports Authority both less than 5 away also. The service wasn't even that good, although he had about 7 bikes in the shop portion. I guess these one make shops find a way to do it.
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Old 11-21-08, 04:30 AM   #8
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Maybe it's a front for a *e-tailer*? There is a LBS around here that sells Raleigh/Diamondback. Has about 20 on the floor at any given time and has a website that promotes shipping globally.
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Old 11-21-08, 06:37 AM   #9
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Help the New business start up right.. Go buy Your Orbea.
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Old 11-21-08, 06:59 AM   #10
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Dunno. Sems like one of the LBSes around here only sells Kona, not sure if that's just all they could get in time to open or what. I don't prefer to go there, since no matter what you need, the stuff in their limited inventory would be just perfect! Except that it often isn't. Last time I went through, I was informed that the only difference between a women's frame and a mens frame was the color, and that wide flatbars would be perfect for a girl planning to ride commuting/touring on the road because of the added control. O...kay.. trying to move some of that huge stock of mtb's are we?
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Old 11-21-08, 08:03 PM   #11
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Dunno about the Orbea... they have some sort of connection to Little Rock I seem to recall.

Re: the lesser brands, a lot of time they can't get into the large profitable shops (who are carrying Trek/Specialzied etc) so they are stuck with the smaller, less profitable, less creditworthy shops.

One indicator of a shop thats about to go under is they change lines, each line slightly less "brand worthy" than the previous. Once they get down to no-name brands, it's only a few months to go.
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Old 11-21-08, 10:23 PM   #12
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In some respects starting a dealership is not much different than buying a bike. Everyone that cannot understand why this dealership has only one bike line, run out and buy every bike you are interested in. What? You could not do it(or were unwilling to extend yourself)? There you go. A lot of starting a shop is how much money you have and how good your credit is. Breathe slow, I know it must come as a surprise, but yes, all of that stuff in the LBS has to be paid for, by the owner of the shop. Most of it, paid before it gets on the UPS truck and the longest terms run around 90 days.
Maybe this guy could only swing one line and hopes to expand it once his business is off the ground. He could also be putting up a faux front so he can online, but it sounds like a big store to run that scam.
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Old 11-22-08, 05:50 AM   #13
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Funny, most of them only sell trek
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Old 11-22-08, 09:46 AM   #14
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It can be hard to start a business with out a ton of start up capital so you start with with what you can and go from there 90% is service and 10% product IMHO.
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Old 11-22-08, 10:33 PM   #15
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Breathe slow, I know it must come as a surprise, but yes, all of that stuff in the LBS has to be paid for, by the owner of the shop. Most of it, paid before it gets on the UPS truck and the longest terms run around 90 days.
Maybe this guy could only swing one line and hopes to expand it once his business is off the ground. He could also be putting up a faux front so he can online, but it sounds like a big store to run that scam.
Went in today, *everything* is orbea. No accessories, no clothes, no parts, just bikes, and all orbea. saw two or three "used" (according to the tag), but none under $1200 or so even then. And I counted around 55 bikes.

So they had 50+ orbea bikes on their floor at time of opening. Just a guess here, but I don't think "not being able to afford it" was a problem but in either case, there's still no "name" of the shop on any sign anywhere around the place, other than the big Orbea sign, so I think they may actually be affilliated directly with the company, rather than an independent dealership.

Personally, though, I'm pretty disappointed. Was hoping to have a real shop next door rather than a single-brand dealership. Heck, they probably could've sold me some gloves and maybe a chain today if they'd have carried either...
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Old 11-23-08, 01:54 AM   #16
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have you considered asking the staff what the deal is?
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Old 11-23-08, 10:30 AM   #17
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have you considered asking the staff what the deal is?
Nah - the two guys there were busy yesterday, and given that no answer they could give would magically make them have parts or accessories (which is what I'm interested in), I don't see any reason to go back.
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Old 11-24-08, 03:34 PM   #18
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I've never heard of a bike shop that carries only one brand.

My wife has an Orbea and while it's a great bike I'm sure it's not going to be right for everyone.

I agree with jgadamski; go in and get the scoop!
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Old 11-24-08, 05:04 PM   #19
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Nah - the two guys there were busy yesterday, and given that no answer they could give would magically make them have parts or accessories (which is what I'm interested in), I don't see any reason to go back.
Are you kidding?

You were obviously curious enough to post about it, you got us curious about it, and then you actually went in and didn't bother to ask!? Because they don't have any chains!?!?

LOL, just go across the street and ask!!!
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Old 11-25-08, 10:57 AM   #20
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I heard something about a new type of bike shop, requiring appointments... some sort of high end shop that relies on working 1:1 with each customer similar to the old haberdasheries. Apparently not a lot of overhead in keeping the staff small and the stock minimal.

To be honest back when I had a custom bike built in the mid '80s, this was almost the case... come in, get fitted; small shop and all the attention was on one customer, me.
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Old 11-25-08, 11:07 AM   #21
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Yeah, just ask! Heck, my local shop keeps chains in a drawer behind the counter...the owners/employees are definitely aware that they work in a shop with one brand and no outside sign and funky hours--just ask em what's up!
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Old 11-25-08, 10:06 PM   #22
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lol - alright, sure, I'll go ask tomorrow - they were closed sun-tue anyway (only open wed-sat). Just don't want to seem like I'm downing their business model. I suppose I kinda am, though... Anyway, I'll let you guys know what they say
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Old 11-26-08, 10:05 AM   #23
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Maybe a clearance outlet where you can get day-old Orbeas? Or maybe they're experimenting with what Specialized wanted to do a while back with the single brand store (or did they do that?) ... Can't believe you walked in and didn't ask...
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Old 11-26-08, 07:53 PM   #24
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Maybe a clearance outlet where you can get day-old Orbeas? Or maybe they're experimenting with what Specialized wanted to do a while back with the single brand store (or did they do that?) ... Can't believe you walked in and didn't ask...
Sorry!! There were only two store people, and they were both with other people for a good 5-10 minutes... and it really didn't look like anything that might be of any use to me. I would've gone back today, but all the in-laws are coming over here for thanksgiving so I've had a madhouse cleaning-prepping day, and they were closed when I finished with that. Will check back Friday if they open.
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Old 12-01-08, 01:20 PM   #25
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Cool...Just check back when you can.
It's like reading something and finding the last page is ripped out.
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