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You wonder why LBS are going out of business...

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You wonder why LBS are going out of business...

Old 08-05-12, 10:18 AM
  #51  
conradpdx
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Most the LBS that I go to are small shops and space is limited. But most the shops I go to are also mostly repair shops with bins full of parts in the back, (ironically those back rooms are smaller than many LBS water bottle displays). So usually finding anything isn't too much of a problem. They also have a public work station either for free or for a small hourly fee. This works out great, though it seems like they're shooting themselves in the foot by losing service fees, but it seems to work since one of them (with a free work stand and access to a tool box) is about ready to expand into the retail space next to them. Many even offer classes on bike mechanics and wheel building.

These LBS see the bicycle as a tool of empowerment and freedom. They are often also closely tied to the local bike advocacy and charity groups and are very involved with the local bike scene. Their interaction with customers reflects that attitude. I have seen these folks bend over backwards helping people with box store bikes, even doing minor wrench jobs on them for free. They might not have made that $10.00 for re setting the handle bars, but when that person comes looking for a new bike or needs real services guess where they are likely to go.

Of course these stores don't sell the big manufactures except for used ones. But they all do have their own smaller manufacturers, and honestly some of these smaller manufactures put out better bikes for the masses than the big bike manufactures do. Most people don't need a Carbon anything, and a couple grams here and there isn't really a deal braker for most of us either. And this is what is usually pushed on me when I go to other LBS's. At the LBS I frequent I get respect, and people like my old Superbe, at the other I get scoffed at am and pushed to buy the latest plastic bike from "fill in the manufacturer". Even if I walk in just wanting a basic patch kit (which at atleast one place I've been doesn't sell- I presume to sell you a new tube and tire).

Now do I expect any of these LBS to stock the rarer parts I'm seeking. No. I don't get upset if they don't have the Sturmey Archer dynamo hub I'm looking for or the dry battery pack I'm also looking for. Do I ask? Yes. You never know what might pop up. I do a monthly 30 mile ride where I hit most the shops that might find such a part on my side of town just to ask for these items. I don't get upset, and usually I get a story about how they serviced one recently on a bike, or refer me to a store that they think would have it , which if I haven't hit that store yet on my ride I was probably on my way there.

However I really do find it kind of appalling that a LBS wouldn't have a Shimano front derailer of any kind. You can say all you want that you don't have floor space, but how much space does a front derailer take? Even 10 of them could fit in a shoe box under the counter somewhere That shoe box could contain one of each of the best selling ones from the main manufactures of derailers that there are (Sram and Shimano and you got 99% of the bikes). Were only talking about an item from the biggest manufacturer of bicycle components. The OP wasn't looking for something exotic or even specific, he didn't care if it was a high end or low end one. He just wanted to fix his bike. It's not like he was asking for something exotic like a 48" Penny fathering wheel or Schlumpf speed hub. He was asking for a common part from a common manufacturer which easily fits in the palm of the hand. I don't see how any LBS (which I assume would have a repair shop in the back) wouldn't have something as common as a Shimano front derailer.

Like I said in the first paragraph. Many of the LBS around here can easily service most the bikes from the last 30-50 years with parts out of a room just a little bit bigger than a broom closet.

And so even if you say it's unreasonable to stock a front derailer, to most of us it seems absurd not to have one.

Also here in Portland Bike shops are slowly pushing Starbucks out of the way (incidently I'm surprised they don't repack my hubs while I'm waiting for my mocha) in the retail spaces around here. None that I'm aware of are going out of business. Last I heard there are about 70 of them. Many are neighborhood shops like I described, some are specialized like Joe Bike or Clever Cycles, of course we got the chain stores as well, the boutiques, and the co-ops. We even just recently got Velocult which is an interesting mix of sales floor, repair shop, and neighborhood pub. Wrenchers like to hang out at the LBS and talk bikes, why not sell em a beer while they do so, brilliant if you ask me.

And you can cry "seasonal" all you want, but whose fault is it if a Popsicle plant goes out of business when they set up shop in the Yukon?
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Old 08-05-12, 10:37 AM
  #52  
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I regularly buy from my LBS, and I'm not going to get frustrated over non stocked parts, especially when I have yet to buy a front derailleur as a replacement item. As a regular commuter cyclist, I've learned long ago in not to expect my LBS, or any other business to have everything in stock, and why I have a backup commuter waiting in the wings when waiting for parts, whether it's from the LBS or ordered online.
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Old 08-05-12, 11:44 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
The world keeps spinning around.

WalMart is chipping away at bike shops' lower end sales. Bikes Direct is not only cutting into bike shop sales but also WalMart's better offerings. Trek and Specialized want bike shops to carry only Trek and Specialized stuff. Meanwhile internet dealers offer, US customers at least, an astounding array of parts and accessories at favorable prices with fast delivery times. LBS business plans are evolving whether or not they are aware of it.

So what's a successful LBS business plan for 2012? If the answer were clear cut, everybody would be doing it. OP thinks if keeping a stock of repair parts on hand isn't part of it, the LBS is of no use to him. While the margin on spare parts may be good, if the sales volume isn't there, it won't keep the doors open.

I'm thinking that LBS business models are in the process of evolving in three different directions: glitzy high end sales outlets, internet operations in which the store front is actually only a sideline, and dumpy, low overhead, repair specialists. If I were looking to immediately buy a front derailleur, I'd be heading for the low overhead repair specialist. The shop with the latest offerings from Trek or Specialized may be more fun to socialize at, but a major stock of repair parts isn't where their bread is buttered.
From my perspective, the biggest issue playing against bike shops is the middle man -- the distributors who take the money from the LBS and really don't have a care in the world. They dictate what the LBS has to take each year, and work in conjunction with the bike manufacturers to manipulate the American and Australian marketplaces to maximise their profits.

Otherwise, LBSs already would have ready access to the ordering system that you and I have -- the so-called grey-market that takes the excess components from manufacturers and sells them on. Oddly, it seems it's in the manufacturers' interests to keep that stock out of the hands of the LBS.

It's hard to know where the retail bike market will go. I know that in parts of Europe where we have been recently, bicycling is a growth industry, but I think the market arrangements are substantially different than in America and Australia. Even Asia may have similar arrangements to Europe. Volume creates competition, and that is missing in the American market, for example.

There admittedly are certain other factors playing against LBSs that are beyond their control. People ordering on-line are frequently not having to pay taxes on what they receive. That is a government issue. Whether the two antagonists for the presidency like it or not, a reform of business tax to account for the global market is sorely missing from their platforms. One might suggest a levelling of the playing field by removing sale taxes could help LBS competitiveness.

But for a bike shop that doesn't see customer service as important, really has lost the battle already. The OP identified that the LBS he went to did not have one single front derailleur in stock. That, to me, is ridiculous... not ONE? Come on, we're not talking about carrying a huge range like some seemed to think the OP meant... but at least Acera, or Tiagra level at least to cover both disciplines.
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Old 08-05-12, 02:56 PM
  #54  
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However I really do find it kind of appalling that a LBS wouldn't have a Shimano front derailer of any kind. You can say all you want that you don't have floor space, but how much space does a front derailer take? Even 10 of them could fit in a shoe box under the counter somewhere That shoe box could contain one of each of the best selling ones from the main manufactures of derailers that there are (Sram and Shimano and you got 99% of the bikes).
As I mentioned earlier,

1. they are available in many permutations. These range from clamp type/size, to actuation ratio, to chain width, to cage designs (double, triple, compact triple), plus the obvious things like model and color, and (moreso for mountain) pull direction.

2. they periodically undergo breaking changes in their compatibility. I cited some examples.

3. they don't sell frequently.


If you get a bike shop, and you want to throw your limited capital (that means "money," not "floor space," by the way) into an expensive, rarely needed, slow-selling category of products that go obsolete when the manufacturers feel like it, then that's your call. Enjoy paying your inventory taxes on that stuff, year after year, as the price of your vigilance.

Alternately, you could order exactly what the particular customer wants/needs, instead of trying to cram a middle-of-the-road substitute down everyone's throat (Seriously sir, this Tiagra FD will work GREAT on your Dura-Ace or SRAM Red bike). You won't have obsolete stock to pay taxes on. You won't have money tied up in FDs that could've been turning a profit many times over in tires, tubes, brake pads and chains.

The middle ground would be to stock a budget FD and still special-order as needed. But this is still tricky, particularly for mountain bikes with the addition of yet ANOTHER mounting standard (direct-mount), the coexistence of both 2-ring and 3-ring cranks in the same model lines, 9sp and 10sp still both commonplace, pull directions... forget it. If I were going to pick one repair FD for mountain, it would be a low-clamp, dual-pull 3 x 9 Deore that fits all three frame sizes.
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Old 08-05-12, 03:44 PM
  #55  
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What some of us must be forgetting is that if someone has been into cycling for ant time at all they have a parts box. I am a reborn cyclist that gave it up when life got in the way and I was upwardly moble. I moved to a resort mountain community and gave up cycling more or less. After a yer or two I sould or tossed out everything in my parts box. About 4 or 5 years ago I came back and in less than a year I had a full parts box. About a year ago I built a bike from frame up with parts in the box and all I needed to buy was a chain and some cables. Today I have a whole set of shifters, two front derailleurs, one SRAM and one Ultrgra. I have two seat posts, an extra stem four or five extra pedals, Crank Brothers, Time, Shimano, Look and Speed Play. 4 sets of wheels and three extra saddles. It is close to having enough spare parts to build another bike. So why use a LBS? I get chains, CO-2s tubes, gloves, pumps, cassettes, cables, water bottles, Gel and shot blocks. And sometimes N+1.

But I do use my favorite LBS because they have a machine shop and even had to make a cone for my old Shimano Dura Ace handto built wheels. I get them to service my bike and make sure I have it adjusted correctly. Plus I can't seem true a wheel as well or as quickly as that LBS. So as I have said I don't see the LBS going out of business and I will give them a chance at any part or product I want to oder before I order online.
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Old 08-06-12, 04:32 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
As I mentioned earlier,

1. they are available in many permutations. These range from clamp type/size, to actuation ratio, to chain width, to cage designs (double, triple, compact triple), plus the obvious things like model and color, and (moreso for mountain) pull direction.

2. they periodically undergo breaking changes in their compatibility. I cited some examples.

3. they don't sell frequently.


If you get a bike shop, and you want to throw your limited capital (that means "money," not "floor space," by the way) into an expensive, rarely needed, slow-selling category of products that go obsolete when the manufacturers feel like it, then that's your call. Enjoy paying your inventory taxes on that stuff, year after year, as the price of your vigilance.

Alternately, you could order exactly what the particular customer wants/needs, instead of trying to cram a middle-of-the-road substitute down everyone's throat (Seriously sir, this Tiagra FD will work GREAT on your Dura-Ace or SRAM Red bike). You won't have obsolete stock to pay taxes on. You won't have money tied up in FDs that could've been turning a profit many times over in tires, tubes, brake pads and chains.

The middle ground would be to stock a budget FD and still special-order as needed. But this is still tricky, particularly for mountain bikes with the addition of yet ANOTHER mounting standard (direct-mount), the coexistence of both 2-ring and 3-ring cranks in the same model lines, 9sp and 10sp still both commonplace, pull directions... forget it. If I were going to pick one repair FD for mountain, it would be a low-clamp, dual-pull 3 x 9 Deore that fits all three frame sizes.
I think your reaction to what we are saying is way over the top. You are assuming people are talking about Dura Ace level bikes. We are not. The guy certainly was not looking for a top-level FD... he was looking for something that was serviceable, and was prepared to take base level.

Generally derailleurs are going to malfunction on older bikes, so your arguments about the recent changes in specs are irrelevant. Clamp-on or braze-on yes, maybe, but there are ways around that, too.

And why don't the bike shops let the manufacturers and distributors know in uncertain terms that the disintegration of standardisation is actually making their business models untenable? Maybe, just maybe, the distributors and manufacturers are intentionally rationalising the industry through these methods so that the Trek and Giant super shops predominate? (As a sidenote, I have not seen any significant advance in durability or efficiency in types of components that I would use, with changes that have occurred in the past 10 years or so, so I can only assume the differences have been for marketing purposes).

Next we will be told that bike shops won't be stocking bikes in various sizes because they can't be expected to carry that stock on their floor space, and some sizes move slowly... but we can order it in for us and have it here in four months.

Oh, but that already happens, doesn't it?
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Old 08-06-12, 04:53 AM
  #57  
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I am happy to report that the son of the former Making Tracks Cyclery owner opened EO Cycles, a smaller shop than his dad ran but a QUALITY shop and an authorized Trek dealer, seller of Bontrager accessories and the Gary Fisher collection.

I am very happy about this.

PS A very nice shop has opened in Weiser, Idaho as well. TAKE HEART.
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Old 08-06-12, 05:05 AM
  #58  
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Eh, I would be surprised that they didn't have any FD, but maybe that's not their model. Not a big deal. Move on with your life. Maybe they did have one and just needed it in a repair job. Who knows...
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Old 08-06-12, 08:14 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
There's really no excuse for a bike shop not carrying a few of the most common derailleurs. I used to run an auto parts store for the Coast Guard on Kodiak Island.
That's probably really the point. While there's a degree of cross over, there's a difference between an "auto parts store" and an "auto repair shop". I suppose that I could buy an air filter for my car at Jiffy Lube, but it would probably cost a lot more than the same filter at Auto Zone. There's an auto repair shop across the street from my condo. It would be more convenient for me than going to a parts store but, regardless of price, I wouldn't expect them to have a starter on hand to fit my 15 year old Saturn.

Most guys who work on our own bikes have figured that out and source our repair parts from less costly internet dealers. My local bike shops have figured that out and don't try to stock anything but the most common replacement parts. That's just the way that it is.
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Old 08-06-12, 09:04 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
I think your reaction to what we are saying is way over the top. You are assuming people are talking about Dura Ace level bikes. We are not. The guy certainly was not looking for a top-level FD... he was looking for something that was serviceable, and was prepared to take base level.
If I had the time, I'd go through our showroom and count just the bare number of base-level FDs it would take to cover JUST the bikes we actually carry ourselves for this model year, not to mention everything that might get walked through the door. If the time comes when this LBS has a serious surplus in capital and no idea what to do with it, then maybe preemptively stocking 10-15 models of FDs, with dim hopes of ever selling most of them before they're obsolete, will make sense. For now... I don't think it does. If it were my own LBS, I'd prioritize other things. We can get you precisely the FD you need in a matter of days, or even overnight on its own separate order if you want to pick up the shipping ($8). If that's really not fast enough, and your whole life pivots on the instant availability of a FD, then I think you should buy a spare FD in advance

And by the way. I've seen half the LBSes I work at go out of business. The reason: lack of profitability. So if I seem like a stickler for avoiding an unprofitable venture (like trying to cover the FD market), that's where I'm coming from. It's important to stay profitable.

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Old 08-06-12, 09:33 AM
  #61  
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I guess I'd be more forgiving of one LBS I stopped at for not having a FD if the store didn't look like a shrine. this store could be a church. they had 10 TT bikes, 2 dozen nice road bikes, 2 dozen nice DH bikes and quite a few hybrids and kids bikes. they even had several replica team's kits in various sizes. I understand not stocking like a web store but if you can stock XL Astana kits, you can carry a couple of FD.
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Old 08-06-12, 09:39 AM
  #62  
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mechBgon - thanks for the other perspective. I get your points, and I appreciate how difficult it must be to make money in any specialty retail business.

But think about this too -- because that shop didnt' have the FD I needed (and yes, I did need it then, that day which is quite unsual for me and apparently for most people), they lost out on selling me a mtb stem, and a new set of canti brakes (assuming they had them in stock, which they probably didn't) which I would have bought in the same trip. And the can of tri-flow I bought at another shop closer to me. Obviously my business won't make or break them, but what if 10 or 20 people had the same experience? That's some actual money then.

As for my "relationship" with the bike shop...well, we don't shower together. But they know me, and I occassionally buy stuff from them or have a wheel trued. Even bought two Globe bikes for my parents there last year. But besides the merchant / customer thing we got going on, I don't think the relationship is going anywhere.

Instant gratification SHOULD be a competitive advantage for an LBS. It seems like many can't figure out how to make it one. Soley my own uninformed opinion.
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Old 08-06-12, 10:00 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
mechBgon - thanks for the other perspective. I get your points, and I appreciate how difficult it must be to make money in any specialty retail business.

But think about this too -- because that shop didnt' have the FD I needed (and yes, I did need it then, that day which is quite unsual for me and apparently for most people), they lost out on selling me a mtb stem, and a new set of canti brakes (assuming they had them in stock, which they probably didn't) which I would have bought in the same trip. And the can of tri-flow I bought at another shop closer to me. Obviously my business won't make or break them, but what if 10 or 20 people had the same experience? That's some actual money then.
I see your point about not having your hot-button item and losing the rest of the deal in the process, but the fact is, road FDs are the hot-button item for very few people. As a guess, we might sell one every 2 months during the busy season, when we order twice a week and have shipments arrive Tuesday and Thursday. If we're going to take guesses at what a customer's hot-button RIGHT-NOW item will be, we're more likely to pick almost anything else than a road FD. Maybe they'll be a fan of a particular Michelin or Vittoria tire that they need for their race tomorrow. Maybe they like a particular type of energy gel that they need for their triathalon tomorrow. And so forth. Heck, even RDs are a much safer bet, since people trash them all the time.
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Old 08-06-12, 10:04 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Rx Rider View Post
I guess I'd be more forgiving of one LBS I stopped at for not having a FD if the store didn't look like a shrine. this store could be a church. they had 10 TT bikes, 2 dozen nice road bikes, 2 dozen nice DH bikes and quite a few hybrids and kids bikes. they even had several replica team's kits in various sizes. I understand not stocking like a web store but if you can stock XL Astana kits, you can carry a couple of FD.
Different business plan.

Check out one of my eariler posts: that's the "glitzy, high end sales outlet" business plan. If you want to buy a derailleur you need to seek out the "dusty, low overhead repair specialist" business plan.
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Old 08-06-12, 11:12 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
As a guess, we might sell one every 2 months during the busy season, when we order twice a week and have shipments arrive Tuesday and Thursday.
That is a lot more than we sell. I might do 2 a year and we usually put in 3 orders a week during the busy season. But it does sound like you are at a higher end type of shop than I am. We do a lot more rear derailers and derailer hangers, people seem to love to beat those up.
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Old 08-06-12, 11:25 AM
  #66  
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my next stop after the sanctuary LBS was Performance they actually had exactly what I needed for a good price in a display case, when I asked a salesperson if I could see the FD, the case was opened and I was handed a flatbar shifter, very nice one at that. these two stores are why I go to the dusty LBS or even co-op. that way I won't be disappointed when they don't stock everything I might need.
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Old 08-06-12, 01:30 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
That is a lot more than we sell. I might do 2 a year and we usually put in 3 orders a week during the busy season. But it does sound like you are at a higher end type of shop than I am. We do a lot more rear derailers and derailer hangers, people seem to love to beat those up.
To satisfy my curiosity, I pulled up our FD sales from Jan 1st to today. It looks like we sold 11, three of which were antiques with a generic SKU, and three of which were bought and then returned. I can see our FD selection from where I'm sitting right now, and we have a variety of second-gen XTR (long obsolete), Dura-Ace from two and three generations back, Ultegra from one generation back (not fully compatible with today's stuff), a Tiagra we ordered that we shoudn't have... various obsolete Campagnolos... bins of FDs from the early '90s... overall, a great demonstration of how NOT to make a profit.

On the next shelves beyond that set, we have inner tubes. They turn, they generate good profit margins, they don't get returned and they don't become obsolete. To the armchair critics, think about which of those two shelves you'd prioritize if you were trying to make a living with limited amounts of money.
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Old 08-06-12, 02:13 PM
  #68  
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So basically, what I'm hearing is that, if we need an obsolete FD for our C&V build, we should be contacting mechBgon rather than scouring e-bay. That's good to know. Seriously though, if your shop ever decides it needs to clear out some space, post some of that stuff over on the Classic and Vintage sales board.
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Old 08-06-12, 02:58 PM
  #69  
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I went to my LBS about a week ago to buy a BMX stem. They had none. Zero. They told me that they don't reaaly sell parts anymore. Then I asked for platform pedals -for bmx or mtb. They had one set of Odyssey Twisted Plastics for $28.99. That's like double what it should be. I said no thanks. Then they said they could order anything blah blah blah.

I'm starting to wonder what my LBS is for....
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Old 08-06-12, 03:14 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
To satisfy my curiosity, I pulled up our FD sales from Jan 1st to today. It looks like we sold 11, three of which were antiques with a generic SKU, and three of which were bought and then returned. I can see our FD selection from where I'm sitting right now, and we have a variety of second-gen XTR (long obsolete), Dura-Ace from two and three generations back, Ultegra from one generation back (not fully compatible with today's stuff), a Tiagra we ordered that we shoudn't have... various obsolete Campagnolos... bins of FDs from the early '90s... overall, a great demonstration of how NOT to make a profit.

On the next shelves beyond that set, we have inner tubes. They turn, they generate good profit margins, they don't get returned and they don't become obsolete. To the armchair critics, think about which of those two shelves you'd prioritize if you were trying to make a living with limited amounts of money.

Thanks for sharing. That's eye opening.
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Old 08-06-12, 03:35 PM
  #71  
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This thread is interesting to me. I find it fascinating to hear the shop's side of the story. I can empathize with the consumer but I also can empathize with the shop as well.

I really don't have a dog in this fight so I am not on one side or the other. What I am curious about is this, if a LBS has a bunch of older parts in stock that they haven't sold in years, why don't they discount the parts? It seems like to me that shops would rather sit on ancient inventory at full price rather than discount it to make a sale. What is the reason for that? I do not know the ins and outs of businesses so I don't know. It seems like big stores will discount their old obsolete inventory just to get it out of their system.
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Old 08-06-12, 06:10 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by bobotech View Post
What I am curious about is this, if a LBS has a bunch of older parts in stock that they haven't sold in years, why don't they discount the parts?
Still have to find a buyer. If you have no use for a particular front derailleur, how low would the price have to be to get you to buy it?
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Old 08-06-12, 07:02 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by bobotech View Post
This thread is interesting to me. I find it fascinating to hear the shop's side of the story. I can empathize with the consumer but I also can empathize with the shop as well.

I really don't have a dog in this fight so I am not on one side or the other. What I am curious about is this, if a LBS has a bunch of older parts in stock that they haven't sold in years, why don't they discount the parts? It seems like to me that shops would rather sit on ancient inventory at full price rather than discount it to make a sale. What is the reason for that? I do not know the ins and outs of businesses so I don't know. It seems like big stores will discount their old obsolete inventory just to get it out of their system.
My LBS does discount stuff, it goes on a big table against the wall. But why would I buy a derailleur at 50% off that doesn't fit anything I own? The average cyclist might have a couple of bikes, I have 30 and probably don't buy more than half a dozen items from my LBS on sale a year, the stuff just isn't there anymore. My most modern derailleur bike uses Shimano Deore LX from 1990...

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Old 08-06-12, 07:24 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
That is a lot more than we sell. I might do 2 a year and we usually put in 3 orders a week during the busy season. But it does sound like you are at a higher end type of shop than I am. We do a lot more rear derailers and derailer hangers, people seem to love to beat those up.
No I don't think the owner of the bikes beat them up. But the main reason I went to a Internal Hub for my main ride was I got sick of constantly fixing and fussing with my RD. They get pretty beat up in cities with high bike populations at the public bike racks. (That and I figured out that I seldom used more than 3 gears in most my riding anyway.) One guy not paying attention while locking up his ride is all it takes for a slower ride home and RD tune up.
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Old 08-06-12, 07:39 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
You have a certain level of contempt for customers that I find quite disturbing. God forbid you should actually have to work to make your money in situation 4 above. When I was in retail I always enjoyed the challenge of trying to win a difficult customer.
So be disturbed if it makes you feel better! The situation I described in No 4 happened last week. A gentleman showed up with his wife to pick up a bike he had put a deposit on earlier in the week - and it was for his wife. But she didn't like the color.... So after three different salesmen spent an hour and a half showing her and letting her try different alternatives .... she decided the price was too high, and not only wanted an additional discount on an already discounted bike - she also didn't want to pay taxes. She left with nothing and personally I hope she doesn't come back. You might like a challenge, but even if we had sold that bike - we wouldn't have made any money due to the amount of time spent with the customer. The only upside to that is that I'm totally happy that she's married to someone else - my wife is nothing like that.

And if you think that businesses don't have to ocassionally deal with drunks, mentally disturbed individuals or just plain self centered morons as well as the generally reasonable clientele - you haven't spent much time in retail. Its a two way street - some people I simply don't want in the store. Its not good for business AND its not good for other customers.
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