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  1. #1
    Fast Old Guy Straightblock's Avatar
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    My local Perfomance Bike Shop is closing.

    Should I care?

    Most of the employees aren't very knowledgeable and they don't do much service, but they have been a cheap source of tires, tubes, chains, cables, bar tape & other consumables.

    I guess I should be glad that the other full service LBS's are hanging in for now. In this economy, though, I think we'll lose a few more in 2009.

  2. #2
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    yeah, you should. i have only one shop in my town besides a walmart and no others within 30miles of me, and this time of year it looks really bleak for them. the economy is bad, but so are some attitudes from some shops. not to even get into the arrogance of some of these places, but i have had to wait around for like 10 minutes or more to get noticed as the LBS shop tech waited on hand and foot to pamper some rich poseurs every little need as me and my murray, huffy or next set waiting for help. you gotta treat the customer right, be knowledgable and friendly to ALL who pass through your doors, not just the ones with the fancy toys. some will get tired of the lackluster service at SOME places and that will drive us to order online where we all get treated equally. heck, at least when i walk into walmart, i get a "hello".

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    I went to the closeout sale at the local Performance shop a few years ago and they sold me their "Team" toolkit for $63.00, out the door. It has been the best bike related buy I ever made, and it has paid for itself many times over. If you don't have bike tools, go there and get a good set. You can learn to use them later. bk

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    Quote Originally Posted by ogbigbird View Post
    yeah, you should. i have only one shop in my town besides a walmart and no others within 30miles of me, and this time of year it looks really bleak for them. the economy is bad, but so are some attitudes from some shops. not to even get into the arrogance of some of these places, but i have had to wait around for like 10 minutes or more to get noticed as the LBS shop tech waited on hand and foot to pamper some rich poseurs every little need as me and my murray, huffy or next set waiting for help. you gotta treat the customer right, be knowledgable and friendly to ALL who pass through your doors, not just the ones with the fancy toys. some will get tired of the lackluster service at SOME places and that will drive us to order online where we all get treated equally. heck, at least when i walk into walmart, i get a "hello".
    If the guy was taking care of a customer, he WAS treating him right. If you walked in in the middle of that, what's he supposed to do, abandon the guy he's helping and make him wait while he takes care of you? I'm not knocking cheap bikes or the people who ride them--I've owned a lot of them. But if he blows the sale of an Ultegra gruppo to fix you up with a tube and patch kit, he loses money.

  5. #5
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    If the guy was taking care of a customer, he WAS treating him right. If you walked in in the middle of that, what's he supposed to do, abandon the guy he's helping and make him wait while he takes care of you? I'm not knocking cheap bikes or the people who ride them--I've owned a lot of them. But if he blows the sale of an Ultegra gruppo to fix you up with a tube and patch kit, he loses money.
    Usually all it takes is a look, or a nod, or a smile, or a hello. Really not much. Speaking for myself, I will gladly wait my turn, just let me know that you know I am in the store.

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  6. #6
    Super Moderator cb400bill's Avatar
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    There is an art to properly waiting on multiple customers at one time. Some salespeople have it, most don't.
    Laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
    There is an art to properly waiting on multiple customers at one time. Some salespeople have it, most don't.
    and thats what i was getting to. if i was the one looking at the ultegra components with the salesman, i would understand if he/she said, "excuse me for just one moment." or something to the sorts that i know he or she can at least go greet the new customer walking in, maybe point them in the right direction if their inquiry is simple or let them know that they are in the middle of the first customers inquiry and they will be with them shortly. to asume the person behind the counter sees me and will be right with me is reduntant, especially if they are just talking to the customer about a upcoming ride or what they saw at the bike show and isn't even there to be bought. and i never implied all shops are that way. in fact just today i went to my LBS and bought a new seatpost. i was the only one there so it was easy, and when another customer came in, he at least asked me if i was in a rush, i said no and he PROMPTLY eaited on them.

    it CAN be done.

  8. #8
    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    Maybe they are closing because people slammed them on internet forums and they lost business. *shrugs*
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha
    We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
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    Please dont outsmart the censor. That is a very expensive censor and every time one of you guys outsmart it it makes someone at the home office feel bad. We dont wanna do that. So dont cleverly disguise bad words.

  9. #9
    Fast Old Guy Straightblock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
    Maybe they are closing because people slammed them on internet forums and they lost business. *shrugs*
    Nah, this town has been saturated with bike shops for a while & I figured a few were going under in the recesssion. I'm just surprised it was Performance. We have a couple of very large boutique shops in the highest rent shopping districts, with an awful lot of bikes in the $3k-$10k range on the floor. When you go in on a Saturday afternoon & there are 2 customers & 6-8 employees, something's got to give. I'll be surprised if we don't lose one of them in 2009. With so many people finally worried about their mortgages, credit card balances and dwindling 401K's , how many will spend $6000 on a bicycle next year??

    I'd thought Performance filled a need for tightwad DIY types like me, & was attractive to people wanting entry & mid-level bikes. Maybe with Target, Walmart, Sports Authority, REI, a couple of mom and pop small shops and the boutiques, Performance was too much in the middle & didn't fit any niche. Looking at the Performance website, I didn't see any other stores liquidating. Fresno must have been their lowest performer.

    Even though I want to support the local shops, I have to look out for my own budget and will end up spending most of my money online. With several bikes in the stable & usually having critical spare consumables on hand, I don't need to spend $55 locally for a tire I can buy online for $30 because I cut a tire on Friday & want to ride on Saturday.

  10. #10
    Senior Member garysol1's Avatar
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    Our local Performance has cut there hours drastically. No more late evenings at all which was the main reason I ever went there...

  11. #11
    Fast Old Guy Straightblock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garysol1 View Post
    Our local Performance has cut their hours drastically. No more late evenings at all which was the main reason I ever went there...
    Hmm... that may be the beginning of the end for your local store, too. I'd stopped by the Fresno store after work last week & they'd closed at 6pm when they had always been open later. I thought it was odd since every other retailer was extending their hours for Christmas. The next day, one of my riding buddies told me they were closing.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Milice's Avatar
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    Garsol, Would that be the one i Rocky River?
    If it looks like the $3000 bikes but costs less than a decent helmet, it probably isn't a wise investment.


    http://keith-crossreference.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
    Senior Member garysol1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milice View Post
    Garsol, Would that be the one i Rocky River?
    Yes sir......

  14. #14
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    also occured to me that especially since gas prices are only half of what they were in the summer as well as the outside temperature to say the least, business is going to be very sluggish. we are way too dependant on oil!

  15. #15
    Arsehole PlatyPius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ogbigbird View Post
    also occured to me that especially since gas prices are only half of what they were in the summer as well as the outside temperature to say the least, business is going to be very sluggish. we are way too dependant on oil!
    Yeah, the gas prices are going to be an issue, I think.
    Me, I'm happy to have gas below $2/gallon - Work is a 120 mile round trip for me. For the shop though....I think it's going to be a bad thing. Bike sales-wise, we're a higher end store. Repair-wise, however, we're just like every other shop. We did well this past year due to the gas prices. Huffys, Murrays, and Schwinns that hadn't seen the world outside of the garage in 20 years came in for tune-ups, tires, tubes, etc. Service is one of the biggest money-makers for our shop anyway. It was even more so this past year.

    We invested heavily in the commuter market. We were even almost to the point of opening a second location in downtown Indy, complete with all-day indoor bike parking, showers, locker room, and bike service while you were at work. I don't know what will come of that, now. The city is still dedicated to creating more bike lanes and such, so we'll just have to see what happens.

    I pushed the shop owner to carry more in the mid-range. I don't want us to be a low-end store. We sell road and tri bikes only (except for a small selection of hybrids), and our cheapest road bike this year will start at $900. Of course, this is the exact same bike we sold for $700 last year (Masi Alare). That's how much bike prices have gone up. We are going to carry some randonneuring and touring bikes. I think that will help some. We also picked up Look this year, and are the only dealer in the city. I expect the Look 566 w/Rival at $2500 to be a big seller. We hope so, at least...we ordered quite a few of them. lol

    We scaled back our pre-season Cervelo order. Sales of Cervelos (for us at least) have been dropping off the past year. The new model names and new colours might change that. We'll see.

    Employee-wise....well, I'm semi-laid-off. lol. I go into the store one day a week and work on the website from home 2-3 days per week. I'm the only hourly employee. There's the primary owner, who is also the bike fit expert. There's Rob, the partner and shop manager. His gf is the sales manager. That's it. We do have another guy who comes in once per week. He volunteers. We're also "grooming" a local kid. He's 12 or 13. He'll be working for us this summer, learning about bike repair and such. We gave him a new bike (his old one was stolen), and he's been working off the balance. We're "paying" him something like $10/hour for cleaning up the place and such.

    We're planning some things to get people into the store. We're going to have a bunch of trainers set up and let people come in, use the trainers, talk to the cycling coach who'll be there, and watch race DVDs while they ride. We're planning theme "parties", such as the Kona Ironman one we had this year. Watch the race, chow down on healthy food, ask any cycling questions you have, and take home some schwag. We're also going to have group rides, of course. I've been trying to come up with other ideas, so if you have any suggestions, PLEASE feel free to share them.

  16. #16
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    any ideas? with the economy the way it is, offer the lower level budget line price items for the average joe. the planned rides and events are a great idea, as they will get the community involved in your business.

    sadley, unless gas prices go back up to what they were last summer, the reason so many got back on their bikes, it doesn't look to be that great of a year to come.

  17. #17
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    My local shop here in SE Michigan told me they had there best yr in 20 yrs ! They been around since 1946. With hi gas prices last summer they were selling bikes as fast as they could put them together . And there in the Detroit metro area with the worst economy in the country .they know the stuff and give service above and beyond .Its a 3rd maybe 4th generation shop .Actually one of them posts here but I won't give his name here thats up to him . The name of the shop Is Al Petri and Sons Lincoln Park Michigan there just fantastic to deal with . Good shops a be there when u are to bad ur losing one .I know how upset I would be to lose the shop I go to......

  18. #18
    Senior Member gldrgidr's Avatar
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    With the number of people becoming unemployed you are not going to find many buyers for $900 bikes. Everyone else is afraid that their jobs will disappear in the next six months and are not making any unnecessary purchases.
    It's ironic that you don't want your bike shop to become a low cost bike shop. They will probably be the only ones to survive the next two to three years. These are desparate times getting worse, and an elitist lbs no longer can expect to sell luxury items like $2500 - $12,000 bicycles.
    If the business doesn't change to fit the times, it will die.
    Last edited by gldrgidr; 12-21-08 at 07:50 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlatyPius View Post

    We invested heavily in the commuter market. We were even almost to the point of opening a second location in downtown Indy, complete with all-day indoor bike parking, showers, locker room, and bike service while you were at work. I don't know what will come of that, now. The city is still dedicated to creating more bike lanes and such, so we'll just have to see what happens.
    What a great idea! I don't know what the public transit is like in Indy, as that may be a make or break it part of the idea.

    Figure out how to reach the kids and families. Perhaps free riding lessons. May sound silly, but how to turn suddenly, stop quickly, and deal with other road hazards are things folks don't know without lots of miles. Even how to do basic bike work -- like adjusting the derailer. (I know how, but HATE it) The service that will come from this is what the parents will remember.

    Something else that dawned on me. When I first started riding, and my mom and I were trying to understand the differences between steel and aluminum (carbon did not exist then), we got short, abbreviated answers. Be prepared to explain how they handle differently. Even better, have a way to SHOW the differences.

    It is not important that you HAVE every single thing. But the ability to get it at a reasonable price IS. Having something to try to let customers know that they want you to order that other item is important.

    Service counts. Even for those trying to save some money; service counts.

  20. #20
    Arsehole PlatyPius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gldrgidr View Post
    With the number of people becoming unemployed you are not going to find many buyers for $900 bikes. Everyone else is afraid that their jobs will disappear in the next six months and are not making any unnecessary purchases.
    It's ironic that you don't want your bike shop to become a low cost bike shop. They will probably be the only ones to survive the next two to three years. These are desparate times getting worse, and an elitist lbs no longer can expect to sell luxury items like $2500 - $12,000 bicycles.
    If the business doesn't change to fit the times, it will die.
    First, the bolded part. I don't know if you haven't bought a bike lately or not, but $2500 is not in "luxury" range any longer. $2500 gets you a pretty decent workhorse of a road bike. No luxury.

    Now for the other part....
    The previous owner of the store, whom I had worked for off and on since 1998, had a full range; from cheap to expensive. The new owner doesn't want to have the cheap stuff. And honestly, considering how much bike prices increased this year, the cheap bikes aren't really cheap any longer. The $900 Masi Alare is the lowest level we want to carry. It comes with Sora parts, aluminum frame, etc. It IS the entry level for a road bike. I don't consider anything with "2200 series" to be a viable road bike of any sort. Bike snob? Maybe. We just don't like selling bikes that we aren't confident in to our customers.

    Last summer was good for us. Selling only high-end bikes, we almost doubled the previous owner's best year gross. Still.... I have been pushing for some lower-end bikes. Nothing TOO low... honestly, there is NO reason for us to compete with Dick's Sporting Goods, Wal-Mart, etc. We DO carry bikes such as the Masi fixed gears, the Masi Speciale Commuter, etc that are in the $700 range. We do refuse to carry $500 road bikes, though. Cheaper bikes take longer to assemble and provide much less money. Plus, that just isn't our demographic. That was one of the reasons the owner bought this store - it's location.

    I can see how some people might think we are being too snobby or dooming ourselves. To a degree, we ARE snobby. But as I've said, we just don't believe in selling junk to customers. We could sell $250 mountain bikes to customers (and did, previously). But how long do those bikes last, and how happy is the customer with the bike? Hybrid customers are a whole different story. There is usually no reason to try to sell an $800 hybrid to a typical hybrid customer. That customer will likely go for a flat-bar road bike such as the Masi Caffe Racer. So, in that case, we sell what we believe to be the best of the lower-end hybrids - the Haro Heartland series. Last year we had Fuji. They made the unfortunate choice of spec'ing some total crap shifters that even a person with normal gripping strength couldn't turn. We've sold off the last one of those and now carry the Haros only. Why? It has nothing to do with money. We would make more money on the Fujis. It's about service and thinking about what is best for the customer. I feel much better sending a customer out on a $400 Haro hybrid than I did sending them out on a $369 Fuji.

    [End of long, rambling post]

  21. #21
    I don't even own a cat... invwnut's Avatar
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    Hey Larry (Platypius)....I love your shop and hope that Rob finds it in his heart to let me work there part-time this summer. I'm the one with the Louis Garneau. I meet you the evening you were remodeling the back room. I like what Verne is about. I think it's good to have a niche LBS. Service will always be the money maker. It just has to be marketed well. I tell anyone who wants a road bike or needs service to check you guys out. My gf had her Klein serviced there. Customer service is very important and so is personability. I understand what many of the people here say. I too have to look at my budget but if I can support someone I'll do it. I want to maintain some kind of rapport with you guys. I think I could learn a lot from you guys and you guys take pride in the shop. Hope the shop does well. Hit me up on a PM sometime.

  22. #22
    Senior Member gldrgidr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlatyPius View Post
    First, the bolded part. I don't know if you haven't bought a bike lately or not, but $2500 is not in "luxury" range any longer. $2500 gets you a pretty decent workhorse of a road bike. No luxury.
    You are considering the quality. I'm looking at the price.
    In this economy, anything other than a house or car that sells for $2500, IS a luxury item.

    Don't get me wrong. I hope you find that customer base. I just don't think it exists anymore.
    That was pre stock market crash and this is post stock market crash.

    If you watched the 60 Minutes segment two Sundays ago, they warned that there are two more mortgage debacles coming in 2009 and 2010, which will result in many more new foreclosures and another bank crises, on top of the one we are in now. We are screwed.


    The last bike I bought was in April and it cost me $30. I stripped it down, replaced bearings, greased and oiled it, and cleaned it. It's not in the same class as a new roadbike, but it runs great, even though it is about 30 years old.
    Last edited by gldrgidr; 12-26-08 at 06:41 PM.

  23. #23
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ogbigbird View Post
    not to even get into the arrogance of some of these places, but i have had to wait around for like 10 minutes or more to get noticed as the LBS shop tech waited on hand and foot to pamper some rich poseurs every little need as me
    Wow. You had to wait 10 minutes? Have you been able to return to shopping or are the memories to painful?

  24. #24
    Arsehole PlatyPius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invwnut View Post
    Hey Larry (Platypius)....I love your shop and hope that Rob finds it in his heart to let me work there part-time this summer. I'm the one with the Louis Garneau. I meet you the evening you were remodeling the back room. I like what Verne is about. I think it's good to have a niche LBS. Service will always be the money maker. It just has to be marketed well. I tell anyone who wants a road bike or needs service to check you guys out. My gf had her Klein serviced there. Customer service is very important and so is personability. I understand what many of the people here say. I too have to look at my budget but if I can support someone I'll do it. I want to maintain some kind of rapport with you guys. I think I could learn a lot from you guys and you guys take pride in the shop. Hope the shop does well. Hit me up on a PM sometime.
    Hey man! I wondered which thread you found that gave away who I was. lol

    This guy is a good customer. He brought in this gorgeous Louis Garneau bike and had us service it. When he came to pick it up, he hung out for quite a while talking about bikes, cars, etc. That's the kind of customer we like, AND that's the kind of customer who will get "preferred" treatment.

    It's all about the attitude. He bought his bike elsewhere, and we're cool with that. He didn't come in acting like we were going to screw him over, or that we were charging way too much for our parts, bikes, or accessories. That's the whole secret to getting good service and good deals at your LBS. It isn't being rich (although we have plenty of those, too), being a Cat 2 racer, or anything like that... it's about coming in, having fun, being friendly, and not being an arsehat.

    When this guy comes in again, I'll give him a bit of a discount. If he needs a minor adjustment, I'll do it for free. If he tacos a wheel and we don't have a replacement, I'll give him a loaner until a new one is built or arrives from the distributor. That's all it takes, really.... be friendly and don't be a arrogant pr!ck.

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    walking the walk

    You talk about "service and what's best for the customer", yet you went ahead and sold the Fuji's with what you call "crap shifters" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by PlatyPius View Post


    I can see how some people might think we are being too snobby or dooming ourselves. To a degree, we ARE snobby. But as I've said, we just don't believe in selling junk to customers. We could sell $250 mountain bikes to customers (and did, previously). But how long do those bikes last, and how happy is the customer with the bike? Hybrid customers are a whole different story. There is usually no reason to try to sell an $800 hybrid to a typical hybrid customer. That customer will likely go for a flat-bar road bike such as the Masi Caffe Racer. So, in that case, we sell what we believe to be the best of the lower-end hybrids - the Haro Heartland series. Last year we had Fuji. They made the unfortunate choice of spec'ing some total crap shifters that even a person with normal gripping strength couldn't turn. We've sold off the last one of those and now carry the Haros only. Why? It has nothing to do with money. We would make more money on the Fujis. It's about service and thinking about what is best for the customer. I feel much better sending a customer out on a $400 Haro hybrid than I did sending them out on a $369 Fuji.

    [End of long, rambling post]

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