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Old 05-30-11, 03:37 AM   #1
Dakota82
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How to Help Bike Shops???

Aside from making donations and giving your local bicycle shops business, how might be some other ways you could go about helping a bicycle shop? I mean, what are some things you could do that would make them happy? What are some other things you can do to help them out and their business? If these questions sound silly, please dont be afraid to say so.

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(We are all Related)

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Old 05-30-11, 04:02 AM   #2
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Aside from making donations and giving your local bicycle shops business, how might be some other ways you could go about helping a bicycle shop? I mean, what are some things you could do that would make them happy? What are some other things you can do to help them out and their business?
It is NOT our responsibility to make a bicycle shop happy.

It is, however, the bicycle shop's responsibility to make their customers happy.

If a business can't figure out how to make their customers happy ... they go out of business. That's life.


A bicycle shop is just a business like any other. It is not a charitable organisation. Do you go out of our way to make your local clothing stores, book stores, electronics stores, jewellery stores, grocery stores, etc. etc. happy???



That said, one of the things a bicycle shop can do to make me, as a customer, happy is to create and maintain a good website with all the products the shop has in stock and especially their weekly sales. That might entice me to visit occasionally.

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Old 05-30-11, 04:40 AM   #3
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What he said.

Sounds like you are confusing local bike shops with bike co-ops.
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Old 05-30-11, 04:59 AM   #4
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Aside from making donations and giving your local bicycle shops business, how might be some other ways you could go about helping a bicycle shop? I mean, what are some things you could do that would make them happy? What are some other things you can do to help them out and their business? If these questions sound silly, please dont be afraid to say so.

Mitakuye Oyas'in,
(We are all Related)

Dakota82
I am very loyal to my LBS because they do all my mechanical work, expertly; provide outstanding service; and are in general nice guys. I tip well, and talk up the shop among personal acquaintances and on Bike Forums. A while back, one of the guys mentioned that they were bad-mouthed on a consumer review website. (For that reason, I will refrain from naming them in this current post.) So it may be beneficial to write good reviews about them, if deserved. I myself don't subscribe to such sites, but I once wrote a formal, glowing thank-you letter praising their work that they posted in the shop.
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Old 05-30-11, 05:51 AM   #5
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I try to like my local bike shop, but tbh I far prefer the big online bike shop that has local stores - they will price match any genuine price (online or offline) and when I need a bolt or two they give them to me for free.

My actual LBS tried to fob me off with a packet of inline cable adjusters which were meant to be sold in pairs and which only contained one (it was clear that they had opened them and removed one of the adjusters). They also charge much higher prices on accessories.

However they do offer me a good discount on new bikes so I have bought 2 bikes from them
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Old 05-30-11, 06:39 AM   #6
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What he said.
She.
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Old 05-30-11, 06:57 AM   #7
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The best thing you can do for any business you want to keep alive is tell everyone you can about your positive experiences. Word of mouth is great advertizing.
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Old 05-30-11, 06:59 AM   #8
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When I was working at my LBS as a mechanic I would always stop to help a cyclist with bike problems. During our conversation I would mention that I worked at XXXXXXX. Quite often the person I helped would stop by the following week for a new tire or accessory and to say thanks for the help. I'm no longer working there but still help stranded cyclists. During the conversation I'll suggest they take their bike to XXXXXXX when they get a chance for service or a check over.
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Old 05-30-11, 07:00 AM   #9
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A bicycle shop is just a business like any other. It is not a charitable organisation. Do you go out of our way to make your local clothing stores, book stores, electronics stores, jewellery stores, grocery stores, etc. etc. happy???
In the larger sense, you are quite correct. But I do see exceptions. There is a coffee-shop in town that people have gone out of their way to help. The customers wanted a coffee-shop badly enough that they went above and beyond.

I will sometimes go out of my way to throw business towards people whom I like, or towards stores that are convenient to my home. There is a hardware store three blocks from my home. I like that they are so close. I make it a point to go there for things when it's reasonable and convenient to do so. I bought my snowblower from them, for example, because they were close by. (Of course, it helped that they carried a decent brand).

Bike shops are in a strange business. They aren't just about selling bikes and parts. They also sell some sort of emotional component that they cannot charge for directly. Hence the often fanatical loyalty on the part of a biker towards a shop.
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Old 05-30-11, 07:08 AM   #10
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The first LBS I bought my first brand new bike from (a crappy peugeot hybrid) had terrible prices on everything... 20$ for a generic track lockring, 25$ for tires canadian tire sells for 15$ and online often sells for 10$. They also have a massive inventory on hand at all times so I guess they have to pay for it all... my new LBS is happy to order any parts and sell them at MSRP and they are a smaller shop that does better work and doesn't have 300 new bikes in their shop they are always trying to sell. It's nice to save all the shipping costs vs. buying online.

I think a good business should really only require your patronage... if they do good work and have good prices and service then tell your friends, that's about all the help a business should really need. I don't feel a particularly strong loyalty to my LBS since I do all my own wrenching they aren't as important to me as they might be to others.
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Old 05-30-11, 07:26 AM   #11
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Bike shops are in a strange business. They aren't just about selling bikes and parts. They also sell some sort of emotional component that they cannot charge for directly. Hence the often fanatical loyalty on the part of a biker towards a shop.
It does seem that some people have some sort of emotional connection with a bicycle shop.

I've never had that connection. I buy all my stuff (cycling or otherwise) wherever I feel I can get a good deal. It's all about convenience and price for the things I want or need.
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Old 05-30-11, 08:59 AM   #12
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It is NOT our responsibility to make a bicycle shop happy.

It is, however, the bicycle shop's responsibility to make their customers happy.

If a business can't figure out how to make their customers happy ... they go out of business. That's life.


A bicycle shop is just a business like any other. It is not a charitable organisation. Do you go out of our way to make your local clothing stores, book stores, electronics stores, jewellery stores, grocery stores, etc. etc. happy???



That said, one of the things a bicycle shop can do to make me, as a customer, happy is to create and maintain a good website with all the products the shop has in stock and especially their weekly sales. That might entice me to visit occasionally.
+1000 what she said. That being said, I wished long and hard for a Bicycle shop within walking distance to my house and finally got one 4 years ago. I give them my business whenever possible because it's not a bad shop for being small. I won't think twice to go elsewhere if they get shoddy on me.
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Old 05-30-11, 09:33 AM   #13
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problem now is iPeople have expectations of everything in stock and all brands.
an inventory tax punishes unsold stock in shops.

just like online shops the local can order stuff from the same wholesalers
they need to have an account with that distributor.

and the staff have a weak income support because prices that people want to pay
are suppressed by the wages their bosses pay them..
get a raise .. then share that to get your stuff..
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Old 05-30-11, 10:19 AM   #14
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Yes local stores can order stuff in, but they are very reluctant to take it back. If you order from an online retailer you can return something if you don't want it.
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Old 05-30-11, 11:17 AM   #15
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The first LBS I bought my first brand new bike from (a crappy peugeot hybrid) had terrible prices on everything... 20$ for a generic track lockring, 25$ for tires canadian tire sells for 15$ and online often sells for 10$. They also have a massive inventory on hand at all times so I guess they have to pay for it all... my new LBS is happy to order any parts and sell them at MSRP and they are a smaller shop that does better work and doesn't have 300 new bikes in their shop they are always trying to sell. It's nice to save all the shipping costs vs. buying online.

I think a good business should really only require your patronage... if they do good work and have good prices and service then tell your friends, that's about all the help a business should really need. I don't feel a particularly strong loyalty to my LBS since I do all my own wrenching they aren't as important to me as they might be to others.
I'm going to take a wild stab, based on the bike brand you mentioned, that the first shop is on Scott street?
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Old 05-30-11, 11:32 AM   #16
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Business is business for sure, and no customer has any obligation except to pay for the stuff they take. I would also add a human obligation to be polite and try to be mature.

But listen, sometimes there is more to life than the interactions mandated by capitalism.
If you do something nice for a person who functions strictly in the capitalist mindset, they will be very happy to take what they can get, and if possible, take advantage of you.
If you do something nice for someone who is a more complete human being, the pleasure of sharing the good thing life has to offer is the outcome. This is not some weed-induced drivel, this is the real stuff of real life. They might do something nice for you, they might now. It doesn't matter at this point.

It is helpful to be reminded that people have any responsibility to businesses, and businesses shouldn't require anything extra of you as a customer. But COME ON, if the OP wants to do something nice for the people at the LBS there is nothing wrong with that.
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Old 05-30-11, 02:19 PM   #17
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why would you donate to a business? aren't they supposed to earn the money through excellent customer service and competitive prices?
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Old 05-30-11, 03:42 PM   #18
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but they are very reluctant to take it back
Sample size, daven? ... or single anecdote
how many bike shops do you do business with? how often has this happened?

I help out my local, on Saturdays, by working there. A Trek/Redline dealer.
on the tour down the OR coast route.

A 6-pack?, .. every one there likes

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Old 05-30-11, 03:50 PM   #19
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If a business is struggling, it's up to the business owners to take a good, hard look at why they are struggling. Is it because they are carrying products that don't appeal to the people who live and work in the area? Is it because they've got lousy customer service? Is the location really bad? Are there too many similar businesses in the area competing for the same customers?

And it is up to the business owners to fix the problem. However, the business owners may want to ask customers and others what they perceive needs fixing as a part of ongoing research to keep their businesses viable.
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Old 05-30-11, 05:16 PM   #20
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Yes local stores can order stuff in, but they are very reluctant to take it back. If you order from an online retailer you can return something if you don't want it.
The store I go to is different. I order something, it comes in, if there's a problem or it doesn't fit the bike correctly they return it. The shop orders it from their usual suppliers so they don't charge me for shipping. I do have to pay sales tax and their markup but their prices are close to the big retailers.
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Old 05-30-11, 06:39 PM   #21
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I'm going to take a wild stab, based on the bike brand you mentioned, that the first shop is on Scott street?
Yep. I advise everyone I can to avoid it. They're so big I doubt it really matters much and they've lost all my business years ago.
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Old 05-30-11, 10:37 PM   #22
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Some of the best ways to help out (I've worked retail, but not a bike store) but I'm sure apply:

1. Don't waste their time. They are there to make money and not be your best friend. That doesn't mean you can't be friends and hang out, but if you are in the way, it's hard to work with other customers.

2. Obviously word of mouth

3. Don't mess up the stuff and leave it all over if you decide you don't want it. Someone has to put it back.

4. Yelling, screaming and throwing a fit if something isn't working right makes you look stupid.

5. Understand that some items must be purchased in bulk. You can't just order one, you have to order a box.


The only thing I've hated about going into a LBS is how the bikes are organized. It's like walking through an obstacle course and I'm desperately trying not to knock over every bike through the pretend isles. I have this horrible vision of a domino effect of all the 2000 dollar bikes falling over while the owner is glaring down at me calling me words I can't say here.

Last edited by Bethany; 05-30-11 at 10:39 PM. Reason: Apparently there are simple non swear words that I thought you could type, but can't. It bleeped out a few.
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Old 05-30-11, 11:29 PM   #23
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Aside from making donations and giving your local bicycle shops business, how might be some other ways you could go about helping a bicycle shop? I mean, what are some things you could do that would make them happy? What are some other things you can do to help them out and their business? If these questions sound silly, please dont be afraid to say so.

Mitakuye Oyas'in,
Dakota82
I said this before in a prior post: Donate your time to a lbs. Maybe ask them if you can be some sort of "helper", who isnt paid, but offers advice, free maintenance tips, answers various questions "newbies" might have? !@ the lbs i bought my Bianchi from many moons ago, that was one of the big reasons, why i bought it there. They had a bunch of fellow riders, who would be there on any given day, in the store(at a table), there to answer questions, or help with quick fixes, you name it...it's a huge deal, and it goes a loooonnnnggggg way. They were extremely knowledgeable, and nice, and you could ask them about anything, bike related. They never asked for a dime in return, were never mean, or treated you like you were a dummy because you mightve asked them a question they've heard 1,000 before. It was ALWAYS "Hey pal...do this and this and this, and youll be fine". I think they just appreciated riding, and getting more folks into loving their bikes. Some of thee nicest guys Ive ever met. You had ANY issue w/your bike? they knew how to fix it, or told you where to go/how to get it fixed for cheap. Got a "where do i ride" question? They could tell you.

I think a collective effort by the store, and riders, could do well for everyone. Im telling you, those guys kicked all kinds of ass whenever i needed something answered. There would be a line to get fixes sometimes, and they would walk up to you, and start talking to you, about your issues. Often times, pulling you out of line, and taking care of it themselves, for FREE. You go to offer them $$$? "No thanks" was ALWAYS the answer. One guy in particular mustve taken a liking to me(or had the same bike i did), and would talk to me, whenever Id come in, about my bike, and how was i riding it, and so forth. It was always" I wont accept your money, just take care of your bike, and tell all of your friends about the wonderful sport, ok"? That sold me on ALOT of stuff from that store....

The others mentioned all good stuff too......

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Old 05-31-11, 07:55 AM   #24
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First, you need to know if the owner of the business even wants your help.
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Old 05-31-11, 01:53 PM   #25
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Sample size, daven? ... or single anecdote
how many bike shops do you do business with? how often has this happened?
1 bike shop, but it is my local one - this, among other things is why I travel a bit further to use other bike shops - or do it online!
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