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LBS monogamy

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LBS monogamy

Old 07-25-10, 05:30 AM
  #1  
mtalinm
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LBS monogamy

I'm lucky enough to live within 5m of several bike stores, including a few good ones. when I started riding a year ago, several folks advised me to pick a store and stick with it. you-take-care-of-them-they'll-take-care-of-you sort of sentiment. I've never really followed this advice.

Instead, I pick which store to go to based on their specialty, where I happen to be that day, pricing, etc. For example, there's a really cheap store where I got my first bike and where I go for accessories, but they are so understaffed that it takes forever to get anything repaired. repairs go to a high-end store with quick turnaround, though they don't have any of the commuting gear I need. and so on.

some people keep telling me that if I stick with one store they'll "take care of me" as in discounts etc. I tend to think they'd be more motivated if I think I might go elsewhere. certainly have seen that a couple of times.

if I'm missing some hidden benefits of LBS monogamy, I'd be interested to hear...
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Old 07-25-10, 06:22 AM
  #2  
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IMO you're a consumer. They're competing retail businesses trying to make money off you, not tax exempt charities. I say shop around as you have been doing, based on the factors you mentioned.

If you're doing that, any price advantage (and what shop really does that in a meaningful way anyways?) you might get for being loyal would be made up for by the fact you go to the store offering the best deal at the time. And you won't be restricted to one shop's inventory on-hand and having to wait for special orders, or their lack of a speciality with certain brands or tasks.

And from a service perspective if a shop would treat you differently for having such an opinion, that's not a place I would want to spend my money at.
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Old 07-25-10, 06:27 AM
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If you are satisfied with your results, stick with your approach. There are many rules of thumb, but, they may not work best for you.
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Old 07-25-10, 06:28 AM
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There are several shops I frequent and I've found that it's not just about spending money in the shop but about chatting the staff and owner up that establishes a good relationship. If you go to shops fairly regularly then they encourage your repeat business by offering you discounts or sometimes throw in freebies.
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Old 07-25-10, 06:32 AM
  #5  
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When you buy the clothes you wear to work, do you go to one store and only that one store?

When you buy hardware stuff (tools, lumber, etc.), do you go to one store and only that one store?

When you buy small appliances (blenders, kettles, etc.), do you go to one store and only that one store?

If your answer to these questions is yes ... then you are the type who likes to be loyal to one store for each of your needs, and maybe picking one LBS and sticking with it would suit you.

If your answer to these questions is no ... then why in the world would you think you have to pick one LBS and stick with it.

An LBS is nothing special, it is a retail shop just like a clothing store, hardware store, appliance store, etc. etc.
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Old 07-25-10, 07:20 AM
  #6  
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I see absolutely nothing wrong with your approach. It isn't as if you are rubbing their noses in it, right? I do the exact same thing. I bought 1 bike from a local store because it was the exact bike my wife wanted. I went to another place for some clipless pedals and new tires because I felt bad that I took up their time looking at bikes and never bought anything. That place also has had good deals on biking shorts and shirts.

Lately I have been going to a place just down the street from my office, as their service seems just a little better than the other places in town.
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Old 07-25-10, 07:32 AM
  #7  
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My wife and I frequent several shops, by passing others that are closer by, because of the great attitude of the employees/owners. We had a bike transferred from one local chain's store to another because of the better service we got.
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Old 07-25-10, 07:38 AM
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buy parts/clothing/accessories from the most competitively priced store, service from the fastest turnaround and competent repair shop. these LBS in your area compete with each other both in better prices and services that can only translate to a win for the consumer. the sentimental and 'they-will-take-care-of you" stuff you mentioned are for people who needs to have their hands held.
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Old 07-25-10, 07:46 AM
  #9  
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I shop to benefit my needs and pocket book. If the prices are close I will go where the staff is more out going . Nothing better than dealing with some one you perceive to be the most genuine.
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Old 07-25-10, 08:11 AM
  #10  
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We are lucky that there are a lot of bike shops around here, but after I went bike shopping recently, there's a couple of shops that will probably get preferential treatment from me in the future just because of the level of customer service I got in the process. But it's not as if every shop has exactly the same stock, and there is something to be said for convenience of location--part of the reason of going to a local shop in the first place. So I will use multiple shops, depending on what I need and where I am, and some will see me more frequently than others.

When I am out riding, I always note the locations of any bike shop I pass, too, just in case I need something on the way.
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Old 07-25-10, 08:15 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by MacCruiskeen View Post
We are lucky that there are a lot of bike shops around here, but after I went bike shopping recently, there's a couple of shops that will probably get preferential treatment from me in the future just because of the level of customer service I got in the process. But it's not as if every shop has exactly the same stock, and there is something to be said for convenience of location--part of the reason of going to a local shop in the first place. So I will use multiple shops, depending on what I need and where I am, and some will see me more frequently than others.

When I am out riding, I always note the locations of any bike shop I pass, too, just in case I need something on the way.
No question about it. If you have a mechanical problem, the closest shop is best. But when choosing a new bike, the whole location thing is a bit overrated, IMO. After the first year or two you won't get any special deals on service just because you bought your bike new there.
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Old 07-25-10, 08:28 AM
  #12  
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You want to try to keep money in your community. You want to spend money with good people. You want to get what you want when you need it. You want to pay a reasonable price.

These are the things to keep in mind.

The result of considering those things will be that you shop at multiple shops and online. That's reasonable, fine, and good for everyone.
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Old 07-25-10, 08:34 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by roadiejorge View Post
There are several shops I frequent and I've found that it's not just about spending money in the shop but about chatting the staff and owner up that establishes a good relationship. If you go to shops fairly regularly then they encourage your repeat business by offering you discounts or sometimes throw in freebies.
+1

I don't shop exclusively at one shop, but there is one that gets most of my business. And they appreciate it... I regularly get a little something extra thrown in on a purchase and/or a discount, because they know I'm a regular, and that I've brought other riders in with me to do business with their shop.
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Old 07-25-10, 08:35 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
An LBS is nothing special, it is a retail shop just like a clothing store, hardware store, appliance store, etc. etc.
But to those that do not wrench their own rides, a LBS is also a "Service Shop", where once you find someone that works on your bike the way you like, you have a tendency to stick with them. Sort of like a car mechanic. You find a good one and stick with him (or her).
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Old 07-25-10, 09:01 AM
  #15  
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I patronize several and each takes care me in different ways. there's no need to tell each about your time with others.

those who say stay with one regardless are probaby also those who merge on the highway miles before the work lane is actually closed
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Old 07-25-10, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
When you buy the clothes you wear to work, do you go to one store and only that one store?

When you buy hardware stuff (tools, lumber, etc.), do you go to one store and only that one store?

When you buy small appliances (blenders, kettles, etc.), do you go to one store and only that one store?
No. I go to different stores.

But I also only go to one barber, one car mechanic, one plumber, one doctor, one....
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Old 07-25-10, 11:06 AM
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The majority of my business goes to one shop. It's not the most convenient option, since it takes ~25 minutes to drive there, and I don't currently own a car. There are bike shops in town that I could ride to in 10-15 minutes. But there are a couple major reasons that I go to the trouble:

1. It's a better shop, with better service and better staff, and it's pleasant to hang out in.
2. It's the sponsoring shop for my race team. The shop name is my team name. They sponsor me and give me deals on parts, I give them my business. Works for me.

There's a nice shop in town that I will go to for commuting gear. It's a small, kinda crunchy place. My kind of shop, reminds me of working at the bike coop at my alma mater, but I don't often need to go there.
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Old 07-25-10, 11:14 AM
  #18  
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You feel good that you aren't thinning the herd.

I agree with Sylv. If you buy for the best price @ all times, that will more than compensate for whatever discount or freebie you might encounter sticking to the LBS that you buy all your over-priced goods at.

Spend 2,000 and get free cables, bottles and 10% off clothes that might equal 15% of money spent... or just shop around and buy that $2,000 worth of stuff for $1,600... If the shops are good they will treat you right, no matter what.
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Old 07-25-10, 11:20 AM
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I go to the bike shop that has whatever I need when its those parts that I absolutely must have that day. The rest of my purchases are online.
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Old 07-25-10, 11:30 AM
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I stick with the store I bought my bike from. The staff there was beyond helpful, invited me on group rides and I have actually enjoyed their company. There are several LBSs in my area and all of them are great with nice staff but I stick with my original LBS because they were so helpful and so good to me as a noob.
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Old 07-25-10, 11:43 AM
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Why go to a bike shop at all? Most items can be purchased online for less money and anyone can learn to do their own repairs/maintenance. I go to one shop for almost all of my cycling desires because I want to have a good bike shop available when I need it. There will always be things I want that aren't available online and options that I would not have thought of that the local wrench knows about. I feel that by making my purchases at a shop I like I am increasing the odds that they will still be in business in the future. If everyone just went for the short-term "best deal" we would soon only have the Trek and Specialized dealers to choose from and our choices would be rather limited. Hell, eventually all we would have is big box and online. No thanks.
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Old 07-25-10, 11:44 AM
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I just don't spend all that much on biking to make much of a difference. I'll buy a jersey or shorts when someone is having a sale. Possibly one per year. Service needs are rare, so how do you really establish a relationship with 1-2 visits per year?
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Old 07-25-10, 11:51 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by tntyz View Post
I just don't spend all that much on biking to make much of a difference. I'll buy a jersey or shorts when someone is having a sale. Possibly one per year. Service needs are rare, so how do you really establish a relationship with 1-2 visits per year?
Ride more so you wear out tires. Unless you are one of those skinny people who insist on flying up the hills instead of down you should wear out tires every month or two on a road bike. Note: skinny people are those trimmer than me. Fat people are those fatter than me. Old people are those older than me. Young people are those younger than me. Narcissistic people are...
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Old 07-25-10, 12:11 PM
  #24  
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How does the a store know you are going to the other store? How do they know that you require more equipment or cycling related items?
I've gone a year without buying much of anything, then others where I need them. But they always remember me.
Each year I need nutrition and tubes.
Every other year I might cables, tools, tires...

Does shop #1 know you are shopping at shop #2? or #3?
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Old 07-25-10, 12:36 PM
  #25  
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Man, I wish I had that problem. If its' not too much trouble to go to the different ones, I'd definitely shop around.
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