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Why the LBS are dying out ...

Old 04-12-19, 09:00 AM
  #226  
dlb4l
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just like anything else some a bad some are good. you just have to find the right place!
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Old 04-12-19, 09:57 AM
  #227  
daviddavieboy
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
Which truck stop? The only one I ever found in that part of the country that I really liked was Dysarts in Bangor. One of my favorite stops anywhere on the continent.
I have a hate on for Dysarts in Bangor. I had my service line disconnected there years ago plus the food is way overpriced but it does have the old school feel, The Lowes or the Walmart on Stillwater Ave is my parking spot now, there is 3 bike shops within a 15 min bike ride. The Bangor woods trails are right there as well or there are miles of nice quiet roads north of there. In Kittery Maine there is a Irving I 24 @exit 2. In Scarborough I park at the Lowes or Walmart, 35 KM ride along the ocean. There is a Irving I24 at exit 133 in Waterville, at exit 157 in Newport two more between Bangor and Houlton and one at exit 352 in Houlton. I have found a bunch more as well in NH and MA, probably my fav being in Seabrook NH. The last year I was long haul I probably put 1000 miles on just there.

Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Back Bay Bicycles announced that they lost their lease and were closing a few years ago. There was much rejoicing when they found their lost lease and remained at their basement location. They then purchased the stock and fixtures of the Cannondale Sports Cambridge location, and purchased the Cannondale Sports Natick Location to reopen as Boston Bicycles.
So they had Back Bay Bicycles (in the Back Bay), Boston Bicycles (in Natick) and Papas Wheelies (in Portsmouth, NH). They changed the name of Boston Bicycles to Papa Wheelies, and very recently changed the name of Back Bay Bicycles to Papa Wheelies. The good news if you search for Papa Wheelies in Boston google maps will find it, but calls it Back Bay Bicycles.
BTW, CrimsonBikes recently moved into the empty Cannondale Sports location in Cambridge. (They have a fascinating story of backing into bike retail.)
All is not rosy in the LBS scene however. We lost Hub Bicycle, a service only shop a couple of years ago. They gave up a career as a bike shop owner and are starting a career as an illustrator/designer.
-mr. bill
That is good to hear, I love the shop in NH and the only bike shop I have been to right in Boston is across from Quincy Market (towards the bay). My vehicle is ~60 feet long and 12 feet high, I have to be choosy where to park
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Old 04-12-19, 10:47 AM
  #228  
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Originally Posted by daviddavieboy View Post
My vehicle is ~60 feet long and 12 feet high, I have to be choosy where to park
Must be a bear to pedal that thing...
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Old 04-12-19, 10:56 AM
  #229  
Jim from Boston
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Back Bay Bicycles announced that they lost their lease and were closing a few years ago. There was much rejoicing when they found their lost lease and remained at their basement location....
NIce story @mr_bill. I have been going to Back Bay Bikes since they were on Newbury St.

My first shop in Boston, back in the early 80's, was at 3 Bow St in Cambridge, but I don't remember the name, I posted recently:
Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
...
IF the shop you like sells the bike you want at a price you like ... well,you are lucky. But what if it doesn't?

If the guy down the street sells a bike which fits me, has the build kit I want, and is at the right price, while my "favorite" shop doesn't have all that, why would I buy a bike which cost too much, didn't fit, and didn't have the parts I wanted?...

Also, Jim from the Home of the Revolution, you have a two-decade relationship with the shop. Not at all the same if I walk into a shop. Idon;'t get to sit around swapping stories with the owner ...

I meet whichever salesman is on duty. he doesn't know me, he isn't looking to steer me to any deals for me ... maybe for him. The owner isn't going to come out and say, "I have an awesome bike at half price that would be perfect for you," the way that shop owner did for you.

I could say, "Buy bikes at the same store for 20 years, so you can get a good bike," but that would be silly.

And in fact ... didn't you and your wife already own bikes when you first went to that store? After your honeymoon bike tour? So no matter how awesome your 20-year relationship with this guy has been, at some point you had to buy bikes, not pick a store .... and probably rode your bike to his store.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Hi @Maelochs,

Thanks for your comments, When I bought my Bridgestone, early on after settling in Boston, I had a preferred bike shop that convinced me to buy the Bridgestone, but didn’t have my size, and I bought from a far-suburban shop, and never went back.

But that was a quality shop still well-regarded.
That was Cycle Loft, in Burlington. I think they are still around.
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Old 04-12-19, 11:16 AM
  #230  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
That was Cycle Loft, in Burlington. I think they are still around.
They were across the street from Herb Chambers Honda of Burlington on Cambridge Street. They've moved to Middlesex Commons on Middlesex Turnpike. (Or, New England-style directions, where the Kitchen Etc used to be.)

-mr. bill
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Old 04-12-19, 12:21 PM
  #231  
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" look up a Giant wheel - ships in 3 days from Giant's warehouse to your home. Point being, there's apparently a way to create an online presence, using the preexisting online capabilities offered by distributor system and not requiring a local place to actually warehouse all of the inventory themselves. "

Yes, this is quite correct. Most of the motorcycle parts resellers online use this method for some items, but certainly not all by any measure as drop shipping is not available from most of the parts distributors. For sure in the bike biz drop shipping is not available from any of the big distributors in the US.
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Old 04-12-19, 12:43 PM
  #232  
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
" look up a Giant wheel - ships in 3 days from Giant's warehouse to your home. Point being, there's apparently a way to create an online presence, using the preexisting online capabilities offered by distributor system and not requiring a local place to actually warehouse all of the inventory themselves. "

Yes, this is quite correct. Most of the motorcycle parts resellers online use this method for some items, but certainly not all by any measure as drop shipping is not available from most of the parts distributors. For sure in the bike biz drop shipping is not available from any of the big distributors in the US.
Are you sure? I don't know for sure, but I'm trying to equate this store, with the inventory and extensiveness of what you can purchase from their website. How does this work? Many of the items are listed online as "In Warehouse". Are they really maintaining their own warehouse stocked with lots of stuff they don't keep at their store? Anyway, it seems to me that being an "LBS" is not mutually exclusive to mean you can't also have an online presence.
https://www.brandscycle.com/articles/about-us-pg771.htm
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Old 04-12-19, 01:50 PM
  #233  
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Obviously bike stores can have warehouses and online businesses. obviously. Not worth mentioning. Shall we argue if fire is hot?

Th complaint raised was that some bike shops were't trying---as a poster put it---to build up big web businesses.

People tried to explain that building up a big web business involved pre-purchasing and storing a bunch of parts,shipping materials, and staff to take orders and make shipments, all of which took capital, and capital was something most bikes shops were short of.

I'd imagine someone at brands decided long ago to be a Fitness Equipment store, not a small local bike shop, and invested in the warehouse and retail space needed. I am not sure how old that photo is, but the hop started in 1954 ... maybe that's the original building? Look at the other images on that page and you will see hundreds upon hundreds of bike,s plus treadmills, ellipticals, all kinds of accessories .... that tiny brick box you showed is Not their current facility.

Most bike shops I have visited started small---usually an owner or a couple with dreams of having a laid-back, bike-oriented business so they wouldn't have to kiss corporate butt all their lives .... and most were content to stay small, have an intimate, chummy atmosphere, know the local cycling community, maybe sponsor a team or an event or two, and never get so big they had to hire a bunch of people to tell them what to do.

Some shops were either started by, or had a son or a friend or an investor, who was a businessperson more than a cyclist, and who saw the potential of a sporting-goods or exercise-equipment store. Some decided to start chains of stores. Most, that I have come across, didn't look to expand and diversify, but really just wanted to talk about bikes, work on bikes, and be around bikes all day. Those guys probably could only get enough credit to expand, remodel, or relocate when they absolutely had to (changing traffic patterns, changing economy, changing real estate environment, changing customer base) but never thought about starting a whole new business, as an internet retailer, and never had the funds to get it off the ground anyway.

I recall when places like SuperGo were first getting big online---they were chains of bike stores, sending catalogs through the mail, and then moved to make websites---because they were making enough money with their retail chain, to afford the diversification, and already had warehouses because they were so big.

The only shop in town just relocated to a more downtown, probably lower-traffic area, but it made out, because it bought the empty shop next door to its new location and opened a coffee bar---and it is right near a few popular breakfast spots, and at a traffic light. the old place was on a bigger, busier road but set back enough it was hard to see, and not near enough a light to be easy to access.

But they do zero business online ... they don't even try. They know they will get undercut by the big online retail shops, and even by EBay, Amazon, and AliExpress.

The shop offers repairs, sponsors a bike club, partners up for a couple local events, and is well known throughout the region. People who want cheap parts don't bother. people who are looking for semi-serious bikes (nothing Walmartish) or people who ride bikes---not people who tool around the neighborhood for half an hour after dinner---go to this place. For them to have to get a loan to buy a warehouse and hire staff, buy inventory, hire a web designer, and then try to buy in enough bulk to get really good prices, counting on getting a significant portion of sales from an already saturated market .... not a good plan for them.

So, as far as that goes ... they are Not trying.

They are Not trying to be a competitive online parts supplier. Too much competition, and if they can pay the bills being what they want to be, why should they go broke trying to be what some total stranger who doesn't truly care, thinks all bike shops should be? Pretty sure none of the people making all these "ingenious" suggestions for how to run a business, actually run the kinds of businesses they are describing.

So, yeah, the LBS is Not trying to be an online retailer. Nor are they trying to be a brew pub, a Walmart, a Gold's Gym, a coffee bar, a bakery, or anything else. If you want something a particular shop doesn't sell, go to one which does. I think that idea has been pretty well established.
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Old 04-12-19, 03:40 PM
  #234  
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When anl online reseller shows part is in stock, it could me on premises or in the distributor's warehouse. If on premises shipping is typically same day. In the distributors warehouse shipping is typically occurs in 3 days (day 1 is order place with dist., day 2 processed by dist. and shipped, day 3 received by reseller and shipped).

As it stands now QBP, J&B, Merry, Quentin, etc. do not drop ship. The above described method of operation does not work when using these major US distributors. I know this model fairly well as I lived it for too many years, 7 days a week, 14 hours a day.

To succeed in that marketplace one needs more than just a store front.
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Old 04-12-19, 06:25 PM
  #235  
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as a business owner myself all I can say it is not to easy to be self employed. I would love to open a bed and breakfast and cater to cyclists and be in some gorgeous cycling area. My business is more apartment rentals so the jump is kinda huge since no experience in that business. online sales in my opinion is junk. I bought a easy climb hand truck with 3 wheels on each side and bought it from Amazon. Turns out it is no easier than a regular hand truck and you cant turn it because the four wheels on the ground can no turn individually . I would have never bought it if I saw it in person now a big deal to return it. I wish small shops and businesses could thrive. The one suggestion I would have is to spend some time with the customer and maybe have an online way to not have so much inventory . I will say some small business deserve the lack of interest in buying just ho hum bikes that you can order on line and that is all they sell??
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Old 04-12-19, 06:27 PM
  #236  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Obviously bike stores can have warehouses and online businesses. obviously. Not worth mentioning. Shall we argue if fire is hot?

Th complaint raised was that some bike shops were't trying---as a poster put it---to build up big web businesses.

People tried to explain that building up a big web business involved pre-purchasing and storing a bunch of parts,shipping materials, and staff to take orders and make shipments, all of which took capital, and capital was something most bikes shops were short of....
The problem of course was that is not what the poster said at all so you wasted a lot of time trying to argue against a point that wasn't made. I can see how that would be frustrating.

What I did do originally is provide a couple of examples where I felt the LBS did not try to provide competitive customer service to counter act the customer service being provided by the online source I eventually chose.

As I further explained, and some others seem to understand, that does not need to be direct head to head price matching but it does need to reflect a commitment to service from a customer perspective that suggests they want that business.

Not following up on an anticipated product arrival as promised or taking 6-14 days to move an order between two local stores, when the same product can be shipped and delivered internationally in 4, reflect what I called.. not trying.

What I said about the internet was that, in 2019, bricks and mortar stores that reject the influence that an online presence has in the marketplace are limiting themselves to a business model that cripples them competitively. That doesn't mean all need large online stores.. just a presence that recognizes how the majority of consumers approach purchasing product. J.H. uses Bicycle Quarterly and blogging to drive sales for Compass while others detail information and events or at least allow customers to review the products they carry.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 04-12-19 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 04-12-19, 10:19 PM
  #237  
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I bought some tubes online, and what do I know, I had stunbled upon the website of a local bike shop about four miles away. I think it's some kind of co-op where the site routes you to the nearest participating shop. Well, the tubes, in a somewhat uncommon size, were delivered and I picked them up a few days later. It's your traditional LBS. I was last there 20 years ago. Lots of stuff like bags and accessories, many bikes that I'd never seen before, and a wonderful smell of rubber. Hope it works out for them.
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Old 04-13-19, 04:07 AM
  #238  
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Here is a Prime example that happened yesterday afternoon to me. About a month ago I went to order some spokes for a set of hubs at one of the LBS. They showed sapim spokes in the proper 196mm length in packages of 20, so I needed 4 packages but the computer only showed 3 but on a good note it was only 3 day shipping. A week later they were no so, and on the second week only 2 showed up as apparently the computer was wrong and the backorder date was pushed to Apr 5 and they would arrive a few days after that. I wen in there yesterday to check and they still were not there and according to the computer they had not even been sent out, but at least they were in stock. Only time will tell if I ever get them.

This is not the first, second or even the third time this has happened at ALL the LBS but I continue to shop there but not if I need something in a hurry because they have good service and are friendly.
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Old 04-13-19, 05:37 AM
  #239  
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Speaking of LBS... You all remember that guy on You Tube based out of Long Island, NY called BikeManForU ---- or something like that. He had quite a following on You Tube. They were a family run LBS that specialized in old school bikes, Raleigh's, Schwinn's, etc... They had a website, ordering, shipping info, inventory, etc... and you could order from them if you needed something.

Anyway... Even THEY folded, went out of business, the old man passed away, the son (aka BikeMan) sold everything off, and the family is now in the Oyster business, still based out of Long Island, NY.

Getting back on track, I hope LBS's can survive and keep on going. They have to keep current and have an excellent website too. A lot of the LBS's here in the Richmond, VA area are pretty much family owned and operated. Performance Bike (chain store LBS -- literally everywhere) folded up and moved out. Another chain store LBS folded up too (can't remember name). Basically if you came to the Richmond, VA area you would have two main LBS's that are fierce rivals and family owned businesses...

CONTE's
AGEE's

Oh, and, as you can guess... Don't even THINK of getting repairs done at one shop while having a decal or sticker or a water bottle or some accessory that has the "Name" of the other LBS on it.. LOL... Just sayin'!
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Old 04-13-19, 06:31 AM
  #240  
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Originally Posted by ButchA View Post
CONTE's
AGEE's

Oh, and, as you can guess... Don't even THINK of getting repairs done at one shop while having a decal or sticker or a water bottle or some accessory that has the "Name" of the other LBS on it.. LOL... Just sayin'!
I would guess that there is something seriously wrong with bicycle shops that turn away paying customers because the products brought in for repair work was previously purchased by somebody from a competitor.
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Old 04-13-19, 06:33 AM
  #241  
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Um... I was trying to be funny and make a joke out of it...
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Old 04-13-19, 06:54 AM
  #242  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Obviously bike stores can have warehouses and online businesses. obviously. Not worth mentioning. Shall we argue if fire is hot?

Th complaint raised was that some bike shops were't trying---as a poster put it---to build up big web businesses.

People tried to explain that building up a big web business involved pre-purchasing and storing a bunch of parts,shipping materials, and staff to take orders and make shipments, all of which took capital, and capital was something most bikes shops were short of.

I'd imagine someone at brands decided long ago to be a Fitness Equipment store, not a small local bike shop, and invested in the warehouse and retail space needed. I am not sure how old that photo is, but the hop started in 1954 ... maybe that's the original building? Look at the other images on that page and you will see hundreds upon hundreds of bike,s plus treadmills, ellipticals, all kinds of accessories .... that tiny brick box you showed is Not their current facility.
.
I was theorizing that the bike equipment distributors might make available 'white label' website functionality, in a way any LBS could have what appears to be their own online presence, with the shown inventory the same as whatever the distributors have. Eg. have a look at this page of saddles at Brands. 555 items are available 'from warehouse', while 127 of the items are in stock. https://www.brandscycle.com/product-...22/?rb_ct=1084
I can't believe (but admit I could be wrong) that this shop has really secured all of this inventory (over 600 models of saddle) and keeps the majority of it in a warehouse somewhere.

FYI.. the photo of the store was a screenshot from what shows up on Google streetview (which I thought was usually at least somewhat current).
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Old 04-13-19, 08:38 AM
  #243  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
7 speed, 9 speed, 10 speed, 11 speed?
105? Ultegra? Dura Ace?

Of course, at some point, many customers are happy to walk out the door with just about anything that will actually work.

On the other hand, with the internet, one can specify EXACTLY the desired part. New, Used, NOS, ...
Honesty the enthusiast buys higher end parts. But lets face it the average bike is probably using Sora or Tiagra which is much less and should be in stock. But it seems like the LBS has given up the parts market to the big online stores.
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Old 04-13-19, 09:12 AM
  #244  
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Originally Posted by cs1 View Post

Honesty the enthusiast buys higher end parts. But lets face it the average bike is probably using Sora or Tiagra which is much less and should be in stock. But it seems like the LBS has given up the parts market to the big online stores.
Except.. try and find Sora and Tiagra from any online store.
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Old 04-13-19, 09:21 AM
  #245  
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Also front and rear derailers available.

https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5046-9...32T%20Cassette
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Old 04-13-19, 09:25 AM
  #246  
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Originally Posted by daviddavieboy View Post
Here is a Prime example that happened yesterday afternoon to me. About a month ago...because they have good service and are friendly.
So their inventory and order system is totally fubar and they don't call to tell you when your order arrives, but you patronize them because of good service.
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Old 04-13-19, 09:32 AM
  #247  
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I hope they don't die out.

Just bought a new bike at my LBS and they were great to deal with. Told them my price range and they went through a bunch of choices and explained the differences if you wanted to move up the food chain on various models.

They let me take a couple of bikes out for a test ride to see which I found most comfortable. It was great and there was no pressure to buy.

I did some research online so I had a general idea of what I wanted. As I'm no expert on bikes, I found them helpful and the experience was quite positive.
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Old 04-13-19, 09:52 AM
  #248  
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
So their inventory and order system is totally fubar and they don't call to tell you when your order arrives, but you patronize them because of good service.
Yes, I go there because if I need something they at least TRY to help, ie borrow tools, fix something on the spur of the moment (never get charged), do lots for the community, have excellent sales and they are good people to group ride with. The shop has been around for over 100 years and I started going there in the mid 80's. Yes ordering stuff is hit or miss at times but I am the type to take the bad with the good.
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Old 04-13-19, 10:55 AM
  #249  
Hondo Gravel
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Can we get back to talking about coffee?

agree. I drink Folgers straight black nothing fancy. I do 90% of my own bicycle mechanics they are simple machines and are easy to work on. IMHO bicycles are suppose to be fun and a great form of exercise. I like the concept of KISS aka keep it simple stupid. And I like the band KISS as well
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Old 04-13-19, 11:10 AM
  #250  
Maelochs
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
I was theorizing that the bike equipment distributors might make available 'white label' website functionality, in a way any LBS could have what appears to be their own online presence, with the shown inventory the same as whatever the distributors have. Eg. have a look at this page of saddles at Brands. 555 items are available 'from warehouse', while 127 of the items are in stock. https://www.brandscycle.com/product-...22/?rb_ct=1084
I can't believe (but admit I could be wrong) that this shop has really secured all of this inventory (over 600 models of saddle) and keeps the majority of it in a warehouse somewhere.
Neither one of us know what is up with that. You propose an interesting theory. I have no comment because I have no real-world information.

Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
FYI.. the photo of the store was a screenshot from what shows up on Google streetview (which I thought was usually at least somewhat current).
That's fine, but look at the shop you showed and look at the pictures of the store's interior they have on the page you linked to? Look at the range of products they list, and look at the size fo the shop you posted.

I again, have no actual information. Maybe the photos on the website are from some other shop? I simply do not know, and I am not about to ride out there to see.
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