I perform most of my own repairs and builds. (wheel building is one of my weaknesses and I usually rely on my local bike shop) I am dedicated to a local shop here in Eagle Rock (Budget Pro Bikes of Los Angeles) that gives good advice, good prices, and excellent service. But I also purchase stuff online when I find fantastic deals. I will pay more for parts and accessories and generate business for the LBS if its worth keeping them in business.
I recently moved my office and this is now considerably farther away from my favorite shop. I like visiting local bike shops during my lunch hour. So I did a search for a local bike shop closer to my new address and found several via the web. I then searched for opinions and found one that was four miles from my new location that recieved plenty of good reviews from local customers.
I went to visit the other day and just as described, they had a large range of high end equipment. But I was startled at the prices their items. Most were double the prices compared to my favorite shop and sometimes up to 3 times more expensive than online distributors.
I know local bike shops have to make a profit to stay in business. But this seemed a bit extreme.
Example: Shimano Ultegra 9 Speed crank $265.00
This can be purchased at Colorado Cyclist for $89.95. That's a 66% discount or savings of $175!
I think I'll make the drive back to my favorite shop.