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140000 no bike shop.

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Old 12-11-11, 08:31 PM
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Bronsonb
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140000 no bike shop.

This many people in my city and no bike shop. Nearest one is forty miles. I just recently got back into cycling is it that hard for shops to make it anymore?
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Old 12-11-11, 09:03 PM
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perhaps.. last one there, owner died , no one wanted to do it.

yes recessionary economy is tough to open a bike business..
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Old 12-12-11, 12:38 AM
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While I agree that the economy does have an effect, I think much of the problem is online sales. It is very hard, and maybe even impossible, for a small brick and mortar shop to offer the pricing that a decent online retailer can. It's a fact of life. The only things that the brick and mortar guys can take advantage of is having representative hardware in their shops, expertise and service. Unfortunately people will often check out the hardware at a shop, but buy online.

I realize that the vast population of cyclists is probably not wealthy enough to take price out of the equation. On the other hand, we have to remember that when we make price a much more prominent determiner, shops closing is what happens. We either have to change our behavior or adjust our expectations.
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Old 12-12-11, 12:47 AM
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Doesn't this still leave the door wide open for a used parts/bikes shop though? Assuming you 1-2 manned it with some weird hours and had a place with good rent, would be fairly easy I think.
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Old 12-12-11, 01:04 AM
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Our nearest decent bicycle shop is about 100 km away. But that's OK. We order most things online anyway. Much more convenient, faster, more selection, and less expensive.

Last edited by Machka; 12-12-11 at 01:08 AM.
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Old 12-12-11, 01:14 AM
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There was a shop here that sold trek stuff here several years ago. My most vivid memory of it is when I walked in how intimidating it was. You know, you seemed to be surrounded with high dollar road frames and three thousand dollar mountain bikes. That might have been part of that places problem.
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Old 12-12-11, 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Bronsonb View Post
There was a shop here that sold trek stuff here several years ago. My most vivid memory of it is when I walked in how intimidating it was. You know, you seemed to be surrounded with high dollar road frames and three thousand dollar mountain bikes. That might have been part of that places problem.
That's another reason why buying online is a good thing. I feel much less intimidated placing an order from an online catelogue than going into some of the bicycle shops and having to deal with attitude from the sales people.
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Old 12-12-11, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
That's another reason why buying online is a good thing. I feel much less intimidated placing an order from an online catelogue than going into some of the bicycle shops and having to deal with attitude from the sales people.
Going into a bike shop is intimidiating?

I can understand how one might be intimidated by actually riding a bike on a public roadway that must be shared with big, scary autos, light trucks, and heavy trucks.

I would suspect that one who is intimidated by a bike shop probably doesn't ride on public roadways much. If the attitude of sales people is bothersome, the attitude of some "cage drivers" must be unbearable.

J.
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Old 12-12-11, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Japanamount View Post
Going into a bike shop is intimidiating?

I can understand how one might be intimidated by actually riding a bike on a public roadway that must be shared with big, scary autos, light trucks, and heavy trucks.

I would suspect that one who is intimidated by a bike shop probably doesn't ride on public roadways much. If the attitude of sales people is bothersome, the attitude of some "cage drivers" must be unbearable.

J.
I ride on all sorts of roads including dual carriageway highways with heavy traffic zipping past, all over the world, and have done for over 21 years ... no worries. Most drivers are fine. I've rarely had any issues with them.

But when sales people treat me like I'm an idiot, or not worth their attention, or that they are so much better than me, or when they talk down to me ... that is tiresome and annoys me. And unfortunately I've encountered that sort of attitude a lot. I'm a long distance cyclist, not a racer ... when a shop is populated by racers, they don't always understand what a long distance cyclist needs. And people will sometimes mock what they don't understand.

Bicycle shop owners really need to send their staff through customer service training. That would likely make a big improvement to the industry.

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Old 12-12-11, 07:13 AM
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As related to me a couple of years ago by a LBS small shop (now closed) owner: Customer walks into his store (customer lived 1 block away) for a tube. Owner says here it is, $4. Customer says they are only $3 at China Mart. Owner says he can't sell at $3, but do you really want to drive 10 miles to save $1? Customer says no way he's going to be ripped off for $4 and walks out the door. Shop owner was a competent mechanic with prices usually a little below list, plus he was always willing to order things for me. I really miss that shop. It's a tough business.
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Old 12-12-11, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by okane View Post
plus he was always willing to order things for me. I really miss that shop. It's a tough business.
And there's another problem with LBSs ... some will order things for you and have them there in a matter of days, but lots will tell you it will be several weeks before they can get the item in. The reason for this is because they've got to (or prefer to) meet a minimum order amount before placing the order, and that could take a couple weeks ... and then it seems to take several more weeks before the stock comes in. And the stock comes in to the LBS. It is not sent directly to the customer. So then we've got to drive 100+ km one way to get it.

Meanwhile, we can order online and have the items we order delivered directly to our door, within a few days of the order, for little or no shipping charges. It's quick, it's convenient, it's much less expensive.

So yes, of course it's going to be hard for an old LBS, clinging to a pre-internet era, to compete with that. They have to rethink how they do things.
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Old 12-12-11, 07:58 AM
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What I was getting at is I think they might have made it if they had more of a selection of 500 dollar bikes that could get you started . But instead it was all high end stuff, which I don't think would be very conducive to getting someone into cycling when they haven't been on a bike in ten years. Case in point walmart, they sell pieces of ****, but for the most part you can go in there, pick one, and be out the door. It wasn't this way at the trek shop. I remember the guy asking me a grip of.questions about what I was planning on doing, components, etc. I was a fourteen year old kid, and I probably would have bought something if I had just been offered a basic entry.level bike and they have saved the bells and whistles until I was into cycling a bit more.
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Old 12-12-11, 08:56 AM
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140,000 people and no bike shop, sounds like the OP's city is a motorist's mecca. Not including the big box stores, there are 5 LBSs just in a 10 mile radius from my home.
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Old 12-12-11, 09:09 AM
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So what town is that? Maybe I'll move there and open a bike shop.
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Old 12-12-11, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Bronsonb View Post
I remember the guy asking me a grip of.questions about what I was planning on doing, components, etc. I was a fourteen year old kid, and I probably would have bought something if I had just been offered a basic entry.level bike and they have saved the bells and whistles until I was into cycling a bit more.
It's pretty important that they ask questions, what with 5 different styles of mountain bikes, road race bikes, road sport bikes, touring bikes, commuting bikes, CX bikes, flatbar road bikes, comfort bikes...

A bike shop employee that doesn't ask the questions isn't doing his job. It's kinda similar to how some folks start threads like

"What's the best bike?".

Ummm. Whatcha wanna do with it?
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Old 12-12-11, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Japanamount View Post
Going into a bike shop is intimidiating?

I can understand how one might be intimidated by actually riding a bike on a public roadway that must be shared with big, scary autos, light trucks, and heavy trucks.

I would suspect that one who is intimidated by a bike shop probably doesn't ride on public roadways much. If the attitude of sales people is bothersome, the attitude of some "cage drivers" must be unbearable.

J.
That's a pretty intimidating answer. I ride a lot and been doing heavy traffic since I was 8. And I know how the OP feels.

Some bike stores ooze so much attitude that it feels intimidating; just by looking at the bikes and picking up the vibes of the store staff, you can get the feeling that you were not really welcome in there unless you are there to purchase a high-end bike, a thousand dollar wheel or two hundred dollar jersey.

But I think this is changing, because of the Internet. The big advantage that an LBS has over the Internet is a friendly staff. That and the fact that gas prices and the increased health awareness are pushing new kind of customers into the store, that the wise dealer is opening up to. There are 4 bike stores close to me and all are excellent.
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Old 12-12-11, 09:34 AM
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Oh and there is also a university of about 8000 students in the town. So it just really beats the hell out of me why there is no shop
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Old 12-12-11, 09:37 AM
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The thing is, in any field of business there are folks who should be in another line of work. It isn't that they are not experienced and knowledgeable about the products they sell. It is because they have all the personality of a cold turd and should not be doing work that involves contact with the public. I guess it is one way that The Spirits use to thin the herd...
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Old 12-12-11, 09:38 AM
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What city are you located in?
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Old 12-12-11, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
What city are you located in?
+1. Maybe there are bike stores in the area that just don't beat residents over the head with advertising...
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Old 12-13-11, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by flatlander_48 View Post
While I agree that the economy does have an effect, I think much of the problem is online sales. It is very hard, and maybe even impossible, for a small brick and mortar shop to offer the pricing that a decent online retailer can. It's a fact of life. The only things that the brick and mortar guys can take advantage of is having representative hardware in their shops, expertise and service. Unfortunately people will often check out the hardware at a shop, but buy online.

I realize that the vast population of cyclists is probably not wealthy enough to take price out of the equation. On the other hand, we have to remember that when we make price a much more prominent determiner, shops closing is what happens. We either have to change our behavior or adjust our expectations.
I wonder if a shop could make it selling what the online retailer can't - service. Not "service included in bike purchase", but pure service.

Here's the model:
  1. The bike shop carries next to no inventory.
  2. When you look for a bike there, you can buy it from www.bikesdirect.com (or whatever online seller you chose), and the bike shop will set it up for you for a $200.
  3. If you want to buy components, it's the same deal - you can buy it and have it shipped to the shop, which install it for a fee.
  4. Other than that, the shop just sells services.

The bike shop has no money tied up in inventory. I think that the traditional model - which requires investment of a lot of capital, storage space and other carrying costs - is essentially broken by online sales.

Let bikesdirect (or whoever) assume all of those costs. Let them also assume the credit risk. etc. You aren't going to be able to complete with bikesdirect on a price basis for new bike sales, so why try?

For almost anyone who lives in the real world, price has to be the major factor in the purchase of a new bike.

I think the same model works for parts - let the consumer walk into the shop and order the parts they need from Amazon. If they need it tomorrow, Amazon (for a fee) will get it by tomorrow for a fee. As a small shop, there is no way you are going to compete with Amazon for selection or shipping, so don't try.

You's want to keep a very small inventory of repair parts available, but keep that as small as possible.

From what folks tell me about the business, price competition for the sale of new bikes is already so intense that a bike shop would probably make less money selling you a new bike than it would accepting a fee to set up an online bike for you for a fixed fee. There would also be no pressure to buy X number of bikes to become a distributor, or any of that.

I think fighting online pricing is going to be a losing battle.

It seems to me that the trick is to learn how to not only co-exist with online sales, but make money with online sales.

I don't know anything about the business side of the bike shop, but I sure would be happy to shop at one like I describe.
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Old 12-13-11, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mikepwagner View Post
I wonder if a shop could make it selling what the online retailer can't - service. Not "service included in bike purchase", but pure service.

Here's the model:
  1. The bike shop carries next to no inventory.
  2. When you look for a bike there, you can buy it from www.bikesdirect.com (or whatever online seller you chose), and the bike shop will set it up for you for a $200.
  3. If you want to buy components, it's the same deal - you can buy it and have it shipped to the shop, which install it for a fee.
  4. Other than that, the shop just sells services.

It seems to me that the trick is to learn how to not only co-exist with online sales, but make money with online sales.

I don't know anything about the business side of the bike shop, but I sure would be happy to shop at one like I describe.
+1

Exactly my thinking too!!!

One of the best shops near (about 120 km away) where I live does not sell bicycles at all. Their main focus appears to be service ... they have a huge and busy service area. They do sell a few other accessories and things as well, but seem to cater to the bicycle commuting market. After all, they are in the middle of a bicycle commuting area. But the sales area is much smaller than the service area.

And in a town I lived in a number of years ago, a man had set up a shop where he did exactly what you've described ... he fixed bicycles, he installed things on bicycles, he put them together and tuned them up. But he didn't sell any products. He had some stuff in stock, so if you came in with a broken spoke, chances are he'd have a replacement spoke ... but if you came in looking for a new bicycle, a new saddle, clothing, or whatever ... you came to the wrong place. It was the only place in town where I would take my bicycle ... sadly (for me) he retired.
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Old 12-13-11, 04:38 PM
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Re: 2 previous posts. Having operated a bike shop, I can tell you that this model would only work if dealing only in low end bikes. To offer repair services requires timely access to repair parts and components. You can't possibly stock everything you would need for any repair contingency, so you need accounts with top line distributors, you know, the kind that stock most parts and components from major manufacturers, and can expedite them to you overnight.
To open an account with such suppliers requires that you be located in a retail zone,(high overhead), carry a minimum number of bike brands, and place a minimum spring order.
Since closing my shop, I can now only deal with low end distributors that carry parts suitable for low end bikes.
It's just the way the world works.
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Old 12-13-11, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Bronsonb View Post
Oh and there is also a university of about 8000 students in the town. So it just really beats the hell out of me why there is no shop

What city what university?
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Old 12-13-11, 05:13 PM
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Bagdad?
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