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NOS88 12-19-13 08:24 AM

How's your LBS doing this winter?
I stopped in to pick up a set of SKS Longboard fenders yesterday afternoon. While chatting with the head mechanic, I asked how sales were these days. He said that last year they sold 112 new bicycles for the holiday season. This year they've only sold 30. He didn't have any explanation for the significant drop. One of the things that makes this my favorite LBS is that they have a very stable workforce. I've been going there for almost a decade now, and the sales and repair personnel have all stayed, in part, because they are good at what they do and are paid well (compared to others shops in the area). Their reputation of service, fairness, and quality remains high. I doubt they are getting an negative word of mouth publicity. So, I'm wondering how are the shops in your area doing?

dbg 12-19-13 08:45 AM

I worry about my local LBS's. One long time shop closed down last year and the remaining ones seem to be carrying less and less of the things I might be looking for (forcing me to go to Performance Bike Store). I try to buy stuff from LBS (racks, grips, tape, tools, tubes, brake pads, etc) even though it's more expensive. And when I'm in the store with other potential customers I rave about the store openly.
I doubt any of this helps much, though.

rydabent 12-19-13 09:12 AM

Here in Lincoln the shops must be doing ok as they are still in business. The local recumbent/trike store is doing quite well especially selling trikes.

Cychologist 12-19-13 09:45 AM

Not sure of their bottom line, but my family is helping my LBS stay in business. My son bought a new Madone and new tri bike in late November and I have a pair of $1900 wheels under the tree for him.

My LBS does a special on maintainance services in January-Febuary which I use. And this tear I plan a bike fitting with my new Domane. So we are trying to keep them in business.

rnorris 12-19-13 09:52 AM

In Flagstaff we just lost a really great store. It was owned by a guy who stocked refurbished used bikes and had a gold mine of old bike parts to choose from. He is also a custom frame builder and did a lot of the wrenching himself. You could bring a 40 year old Schwinn or something in there and he'd rummage around to find something that would keep it going. From what I understand, he couldn't meet the costs of operating a retail store on work like that; in particular, the insurance costs involved with selling used bikes have skyrocketed. The people who now own it are very pleasant and I wish them success, but they're not much different from other bike stores in town.

Dudelsack 12-19-13 10:13 AM

I worry about mine. The last several times I've walked in there the place has been dead. I'm usually there on weekdays in late mornings, which is probably not their peak times. I buy lots from them, but I don't know how long they'll make it.

tsl 12-19-13 10:19 AM


Originally Posted by NOS88 (Post 16342562)
I stopped in to pick up a set of SKS Longboard fenders yesterday afternoon. <snip> So, I'm wondering how are the shops in your area doing?

I ordered a set of longboards from mine on the Monday before Thanksgiving. They arrived this past Friday. That's how my LBS is doing. :mad:

NOS88 12-19-13 10:37 AM


Originally Posted by tsl (Post 16342930)
I ordered a set of longboards from mine on the Monday before Thanksgiving. They arrived this past Friday. That's how my LBS is doing. :mad:

TSL, it took a bit over 2 weeks before my LBS could get them in. I suspect it's a supply shortage here on the east coast. They said the two sites they normally use to place orders did not have any in stock.

sirupate 12-19-13 10:42 AM

Not sure on my LBS. The last two visits there it looked pretty slow, but I never asked about sales. I should make it a point to visit and buy from them more often. I did have them recently overhaul my old Raleigh Competition, including new sew-ups, grip tape and cycle computer.

I'm sure the economy in general is making it difficult to sell high-end bikes.

fietsbob 12-19-13 10:42 AM

I only get hours working there in the Summer , winter the skeleton crew is down to one / a day

and the old guy aint one of those .. but as the others are still friends , I drop in ..

and use the shop as a parcel drop since I dont have a Porch to leave things outside the door.

summer there has to be a lot of sales , as that is 3/4 of the income
to make it through the other 3/4 of the year.

rumrunn6 12-19-13 10:53 AM

maybe last year was a fluke. things should pick up again about Valentines Day

GaIslander 12-19-13 02:54 PM

Mine tells me business is booming. Having the best year yet. They sell lots of bikes and make a lot in the repair business, except from me. I do all my own work. The have sold about one high-end road bike per month plus tons of cruisers and some Hybrids. It is a quality shop in a great location. Most of what they sell are Electras and Townie cruisers. The owner is a good business man and understands the market. He was a former factory wrench for Trek touring with the major teams.

Shamrock 12-19-13 07:31 PM

I worry about mine.Some days like in the summer he has a couple of workers on the floor and its busy.Picked up a pair of Giro MTB shoes for my son's Christmas present last night and it was dead.He was in the repair area watching TV.

BluesDawg 12-19-13 07:44 PM

Our shop was having a good year up until a couple of months ago when sales dropped considerably. Christmas sales have picked up this week. Hoping we'll get back on track soon.

Dan Burkhart 12-19-13 07:56 PM

It's the extreme seasonality of the business that killed my shop. I certainly planned for a mid summer downturn and a mostly dead winter, but the reality was a mid to late June downturn and dead by labor day.
after that, it was pretty much clearing the floor at cost to get rid of stock and try to recover cash tied up in inventory.
My year over year growth numbers were pretty good, and if my pockets had been just a bit deeper, I may have been able to ride the hump and thrive, but the well ran dry,

jdon 12-19-13 08:00 PM

Year over year sales are up which is great. Seasonal slow-downs seem less slow and winter maintenance is increasing as are soft good sales. I blame the number of charity rides contributing to public awareness. It's all good.

Mobile 155 12-19-13 08:09 PM

The bigger one seems slow but the smallest one, who does mostly repairs seems to be doing well. In fact I went in today to add a N+1 to my stable. I bought a Cobb Saddle a few weeks ago and now several other riders in the area are checking them out. The small shop deals mostly with restored older bikes, a few BMX bikes, consignment bikes, some Haro and Redline MTB bikes and some scooters. But where they shine is service and repair. I don't tend to need fenders but he is looking for some clip ons for my road bikes. I don't like riding in the rain and maybe he hopes more of us might give it a try. But not likely in my case. If it rains one day chances are it will be clear the next. The oldest LBS in the area is downsizing and may move to a smaller store. The newest is a company store and seems to be doing OK.

jyl 12-19-13 10:21 PM

I go to three bike shops here in Portland.

One is Velocult, which is part bike shop, part tavern, part event space. During the winter, the bike shop side is unsurprisingly slow, while the tavern and events keep them going. I make a point of bellying up to their bar every other afternoon or so. I also buy as much as I can from them, if they have it in stock, and sometimes I'll special order too. They've done some bike work that I can't tackle myself, that needs an big tool etc. Most of my support is at the tap.

Another is Universal Cycle, the retail storefront of the online business. There's not a better place to buy stuff, since it is online prices with cash and carry convenience. They are really nice folks too, with ten shop cats. I don't know how they are doing but I imagine pretty well, since online is basically taking share in all areas of retail.

Finally, there is City Bikes, one of the local co-ops. I mostly buy used stuff here. They have a very steady flow of commuters and utility cyclists getting bikes repaired. Their mechanics always seem busy, there are always at least a couple of customers in the shop, at any hour or day. I used to get my bike work done here, but have shifted to DIY or Velo Cult.

John_V 12-20-13 03:06 PM

Year round cycling keeps our LBS's going pretty strong. I haven't seen any decline in customers with the three shops that I frequently use.

cafzali 12-20-13 05:29 PM

In reality, bike shops aren't that different from many other traditional retailers in that they make between 50-70 percent of their profits from peak season. It's just that at a bike shop, that peak season is inverse from the traditional peak season for other retailers (Christmas). If anything, bike shops have the advantage of being able to clearly compete on service, something that's hard for a lot of local retailers to do.

Also, bike shops that sell more high-end bikes generally end up doing better because more of those folks are going to stick with cycling and/or are already hardcore cyclists. So they're going to get a lot of repair, parts and maintenance work from those guys as well. Aside from all this, being in an area with desirable demographics is key.

mapeiboy 12-20-13 05:32 PM

My LBS , which is 30 minutes away from my house , closed every year from the beginning of December till end of March . I guess the owner makes enough money from those high end bikes he can afford to take few months off from work .:D

trackhub 12-20-13 07:03 PM

My LBS does cut back to "off season hours" in the brick and mortar store. But, their on-line business thrives year round.

bruce19 12-21-13 06:20 AM

My LBS has been there for 30 yrs. Seems to be doing well. Recently two new shops have opened in the area.

MikeWMass 12-22-13 10:42 AM

Two of our three LBS's become LSS's (local ski shops) starting around November. The third does not, but I don't go there, so I don't know how they are doing.

osco53 12-22-13 04:30 PM

All three of mine are doing fine...

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