I just spoke to George today. He said he's trying to get a gardening company to occupy the empty lot on the corner which George is currently paying for. That will reduce the rent to a tolerable level. But for that other company to move in (and be ready by March, which they need), the Landmarks Commission has to approve of a fence around the lot. And that will take a week. And it's not sure they will approve it. George said the company will surely not install a wrought iron fence, so I hope that's not what Landmarks requires. I'd like to see this go through.
In the meantime, I volunteered to do a blog for him, if it helps. He said he'd think about it if he makes it through the week.
As much as everyone says "shop small" (as in small business), bike shops are a perfect illustration of why that can be an exasperating experience. Quite simply, many of them aren't very good business people and don't really do much to endear you to become a frequent customer. Given that they make most of their profits off service, that kind of attitude isn't a recipe for success.
I live relatively close to a well-known shop, which for years has been run by two guys one of whom recently retired. The guy who recently left was exactly the kind of person I'm referencing above. He would try to sell you way more bike than you need and was the kind of guy that a lot of his customers even tried to avoid. They succeed because they have a ton of people who come to them with lots of disposable income and who are willing to blow it there, but most don't get that kind of clientele.
How sad. I heard people were buying helmets in greater quanties but it seems to have hurt the shops too! I read that business returned after 6 months once a "CitiBikes" was started. I really believe the economy is getting ready to head back to recession. The Christmas season was not good for the retail business.
I wouldn't think the Citibike move would hurt business for shops. If anything, it seems for some it would whet their appetite for cycling, with Citibikes serving as a replacement for the typical low-margin entry bike. To me, the Citibike user is not generally going to be the customer that a typical bike shop wants.
George (HUB) said that as sad as it is to say, theft was good for him, because people would buy two or three bikes from him. With citibike, theft is no longer a force.
i spoke to George yesterday. The empty lot is not rented out. He says maybe the landlord will figure it out for himself. Why should George be responsible for it anyway? George said he might manage to stick around. I hope so.
I walked into an LBS yesterday. It was very quiet. I bought headset spacers, so they made a $3 sale. The nice fellow also gave me some good advice for racing on the track, which I plan to try this spring for my first time.
I rolled past HUB the other day and talked to one of the guys there helping george and he said they were going to re-open soon but just condenseing down to one garage bay, says they offloaded a bunch of stock.