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LBS closings

Old 05-14-20, 05:05 AM
  #1  
Germanrazor
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LBS closings

I do not know if the pandemic is the ultimate slayer in regards to several LBSí closing doors but I saw what is late news on my part and I acknowledge that but PB closed all chains. They were a staple here in NC to a degree and either they became too big or the cycling industry is truly a hard path.

Personally, I would love to see true mom and pop stores thrive with the ability to shop the major manufacturers and not be dedicated to a few brands. Sort of a big bike wish book like the old Sears Wishbook those of us from the 60ís and 70ís grew up with.

Seems the M&Pís there are in my experience deal with a brand or just a few. I think a no contractual basis but ability to order the consumer the best fit.

Well, I digress and am just a sentimental idiot I guess. But the concept seems viable and I understand when they are dealers they get better pricing but if that model concept was not in place, it would be a win for all.
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Old 05-14-20, 05:42 AM
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noimagination
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It seems to me that you're talking about something that never existed on a large scale.

LBSs have always offered a limited range of bikes, concentrating on a few brands. I'm not a small business man, but it seems logical that it would be better from a business standpoint to get a full range of bikes from a few manufacturers, rather than low end MTBs from one, mid-range roadies from another, kids' bikes from yet another, and so on.

From what I've read on this site and others, most LBS sales come from service/repairs, consumables (tubes/tires, chamois cream, drink powders/energy bars, etc.) and soft goods (clothing/shoes). Bike sales are driven largely by kids bikes and lower end sales, and for someone buying that type of bike a selection between 2 - 3 brands is ample.

My favorite LBS sells mainly a full range of 2 brands, stock a few high end frames of "exotic" brands, and they'll work with you to put together any bike you want. Plus, for most LBSs there just isn't the floor space to stock a lot of bikes of different brands, and they don't have the capital to be carrying all of that inventory. "Exotics" would probably sell pretty slowly, I mean, sure, just to use an example, DeRosa makes some nice bikes, but how many people are going to want one, and how many people are going to want the model/color/size that you happen to have in stock?

The only LBS that I'm aware of that resembles what you're talking about is Wheelfine Imports, which is not really local to me (it's about a 1:45 drive from here). I'm sure that there are others, but I doubt that the market can support one in every town. Maybe one in every state, maybe not even that.

Last edited by noimagination; 05-14-20 at 05:50 AM.
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Old 05-14-20, 06:38 AM
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I worry about a lot of businesses but more about a lot people after effects of this
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Old 05-14-20, 06:44 AM
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I don't know about other regions, but here in NJ, bikes are selling like hotcakes. I have never seen so many families on bikes as I do now. No school, no sports, no choice -- I see moms, dads, kids all over the suburban streets now using bikes as a "new" outdoor activity. I'm hoping this helps boost the bike-loving-population count in this upcoming generation. Can't hurt!
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Old 05-14-20, 07:06 AM
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^^^^^^
I totally agree, the bike shops in my area are swamped with repairs and sales. Many models are sold out and they can't get more. This usually don't happen to the middle of the summer. Two of them have literally no place to stand since there are pending repairs everywhere. One hired 2 people, one to do repairs and and kid to answer the phone and move bikes.

If a LBS goes out, it was already in trouble before this started.

On another note, I have noticed a number of recently closed store fronts from businesses that realized they would not survive and folded and new ones that will never open.
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Old 05-14-20, 07:18 AM
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same here in Maine. My LBS is telling me they are selling almost double the amount of new bikes compared to last year
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Old 05-14-20, 07:28 AM
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im stuck for now in beaumont tex> no bike friendly town > necks & guns & 4reelers ... there are 2 LBS's in town & both have completely sold out their inventory and are scrambling to get more bikes >it's like a pandemic of bike buying has hit #always some good in the bad
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Old 05-14-20, 07:34 AM
  #8  
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You are waiting in line to get into bike shops here, partly do to social distancing, but steady stream of customers The four I deal with, on a regular basis, are doing quite well.
Tim
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Old 05-14-20, 07:36 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Germanrazor View Post
Personally, I would love to see true mom and pop stores thrive with the ability to shop the major manufacturers and not be dedicated to a few brands. Sort of a big bike wish book like the old Sears Wishbook those of us from the 60’s and 70’s grew up with.

Seems the M&P’s there are in my experience deal with a brand or just a few. I think a no contractual basis but ability to order the consumer the best fit.
​​​​​​I doubt that would work in the real world.

I suspect that most people buy bikes that they can actually look at first and that they can get in a few hours. And that most people would prefer to do it this way rather than picking something from a catalog and waiting for a week or more. That is, many (if not most) customers want to be able to "kick the tires" before committing to a purchase.

The risk of people rejecting the actual bike they see later seems too high and would leave the shop with bikes on the floor they'd have to sell to other customers.

​​​​​​Shepherding customers through many pages of a catalog seems like it would take a lot of time not making any money.


​​​​

​​​​

Last edited by njkayaker; 05-14-20 at 07:47 AM.
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Old 05-14-20, 07:39 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
It seems to me that you're talking about something that never existed on a large scale.

LBSs have always offered a limited range of bikes, concentrating on a few brands. I'm not a small business man, but it seems logical that it would be better from a business standpoint to get a full range of bikes from a few manufacturers, rather than low end MTBs from one, mid-range roadies from another, kids' bikes from yet another, and so on.
Why? Wouldn't it be better if they could offer their customers every bike possible?

Sure, they can't have every bike there to try, but in principle more choice = better. Not to mention, if a customer buys a bike without trying it first, they could offer the fitting service, possibly adjustment service to make the bike fit better.

No, I think only selling a few brands is just a gag on them from the big manufacturers.
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Old 05-14-20, 07:39 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
I don't know about other regions, but here in NJ, bikes are selling like hotcakes. I have never seen so many families on bikes as I do now. No school, no sports, no choice -- I see moms, dads, kids all over the suburban streets now using bikes as a "new" outdoor activity. I'm hoping this helps boost the bike-loving-population count in this upcoming generation. Can't hurt!
Are you down south? I am in Philly. The other day Action News ran a story about LBSs just across the bridge being swamped with business. Looks to be that way in the city too. With kids not able play organized sport right now I have seen so many more families on bikes. A week or two ago I passed a group of maybe 15. Most of them were children. Maybe 4 adults with them.

MLK Drive is usually closed to cars on the weekends this time of year, but the city closed it a couple of months ago to provide more space to exercise at a distance. (It's four lanes.) On a nice weekend the road is more crowded than it normally is.
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Old 05-14-20, 07:44 AM
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It's great seeing so many people getting on their bikes. Whether they're getting a tune-up on a bike that has been sitting in the garage for a couple of years, or they're breaking out the cash and buying a new bike... it's great seeing an increase of interest in bicycling. Nothing about that could be bad.
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Old 05-14-20, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
​​​​​​I doubt that would work in the real world.

I suspect that most people buy bikes that they can actually look at first and that they can get in a few hours. And that most people would prefer to do it this way rather than picking something from a catalog and waiting for a week or more. That is, many (if not most) customers want to be able to "kick the tires" before committing to a purchase.

The risk of people rejecting the actual bike they see later seems too high and would leave the shop with bikes on the floor they'd have to sell to other customers.

​​​​
​​​​
This, exactly. Same thing with small items like parts and accessories: the store can special order those items but they can get stuck with them if for some reason the customer doesn't like them, changes their mind, plans change, etc.
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Old 05-14-20, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by BNSF View Post
This, exactly. Same thing with small items like parts and accessories: the store can special order those items but they can get stuck with them if for some reason the customer doesn't like them, changes their mind, plans change, etc.
No one can really argue that the color of a bike on the floor "looks different than what they imagined".
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Old 05-14-20, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
No one can really argue that the color of a bike on the floor "looks different than what they imagined".
But if they do, though, what can the store do about it? I can't imagine the store would make the customer pay for it in advance.
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Old 05-14-20, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by BNSF View Post
But if they do, though, what can the store do about it? I can't imagine the store would make the customer pay for it in advance.
(Note that we both agree with each other, apparently.)

Yes, they couldn't really require the customer to pay for it in advance.

So, they'd end up with the problem with that the OP's idea is trying to avoid: a shop full of bicycles (in really weird colors). (The point I was encouraging people to figure out.)

=======================

The OP is seeing a problem with a standard bicycle shop practice without being able to imaging why it's the standard practice.

There might be a problem with it but it seems unlikely that everybody doing it is wrong and the OP happens to be right.

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Old 05-14-20, 08:46 AM
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Here in Lincoln too, I see a lot more people and families out on the bike trails.
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Old 05-14-20, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
Why? Wouldn't it be better if they could offer their customers every bike possible?

Sure, they can't have every bike there to try, but in principle more choice = better. Not to mention, if a customer buys a bike without trying it first, they could offer the fitting service, possibly adjustment service to make the bike fit better.

No, I think only selling a few brands is just a gag on them from the big manufacturers.
Depends on the brand, some manufacturers won't let you sell their bikes with other brands. Some require upfront inventory purchases that can be tough for small shops. My LBS dropped a brand that they carried for years because they changed the requirements and it wasn't feasible for them.
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Old 05-14-20, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
^^^^^^
I totally agree, the bike shops in my area are swamped with repairs and sales. Many models are sold out and they can't get more. This usually don't happen to the middle of the summer. Two of them have literally no place to stand since there are pending repairs everywhere. One hired 2 people, one to do repairs and and kid to answer the phone and move bikes.

If a LBS goes out, it was already in trouble before this started.

On another note, I have noticed a number of recently closed store fronts from businesses that realized they would not survive and folded and new ones that will never open.
my findings as well. No room in the shop
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Old 05-14-20, 02:39 PM
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NYC bike stores are cleaning up like bandits!!!!
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Old 05-14-20, 03:56 PM
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Gonna be a lot of lightly used bikes for sale in a year or so. I'd hold off on a new purchase if you can.
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Old 05-14-20, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
Gonna be a lot of lightly used bikes for sale in a year or so.
Also dogs and cats.
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Old 05-14-20, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by HeyItsSara View Post
NYC bike stores are cleaning up like bandits!!!!
I wouldn't go that far. We're losing sales. Last weekend I counted over thirty empty slots in our store. The only reason we have money is we've not been able to replenish our inventory.

And overall, sales are down significantly over normal months in prior years. Luckily for us the hours we've cut are from employees that only work two or three days a week and don't depend on us for their primary income. But the full-timers are getting their hours. And work is very inefficient. Lots of sanitizing, setting up appointments, delivering bikes......People are lined up outside our store, but we're not cleaning up like bandits.
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Old 05-14-20, 07:49 PM
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Where I live in Northern California, bike shops are bursting at the seams with business. Inventory is very limited and service departments are swamped. COVID has been good for our local bike economy. Even pawn shop bike inventories are at record lows.
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Old 05-14-20, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
Depends on the brand, some manufacturers won't let you sell their bikes with other brands. Some require upfront inventory purchases that can be tough for small shops. My LBS dropped a brand that they carried for years because they changed the requirements and it wasn't feasible for them.
But that is exactly my point - the brands are putting pressure on stores, they are enslaving them.
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