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Why the LBS are dying out ...

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Why the LBS are dying out ...

Old 05-12-19, 02:36 PM
  #326  
Gresp15C
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One thought that comes to mind is that, just because brick-and-mortar shops are dying, doesn't necessarily mean that online retailers are thriving. How many online bike shops have gone under?
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Old 05-12-19, 03:56 PM
  #327  
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Gresp15C,
I don't see a drop in cycling interest,but there is a shift in the industry. We have had rental bikes come into our city and they lasted about nine months and then tanked. They have been pushed out by the battery powered scooters, in less than a year! The issue is that true cyclists don't or won't go that route, but there is a malaise that makes driving the bike to a group ride, riding five miles, and then driving home. In my opinion this is part of the mind set that we are finding with today's youth. There is a sense of entitlement, and self indulgence that is also part of the youth mind set. It makes for some uncomfortable feelings when instant gratification is not attainable for some of these children.
So to respond to your question about loss of retail stores either large scale or Mom & Pop's; I don't think cyclists who are serious about the sport will stop using Local Bike Shops. The personal interaction is part of the sport. I remember back in the early 1980's when the shop I worked in sold a million dollars in bikes in a year $200 at a time. We used an open concept that allowed customers to see and interact with mechanics who were working on bikes and taking some of the mystique out of bicycle maintenance. That interaction is what we used to succeed, and LBS's today are likely doing the same thing. The loss of Brick and Mortar store is found in the demise of Sears as a retail program, online ordering and shopping created a vacuum in the retail sector, that persists today. The most telling statistic is the answer to the question: When was the last time you were shopping in a Sears store? Same goes for Brick and Mortar. I expect a return to the older model when the current phase of "we will deliver it to your door" passes. Unless the buying public invests in the tools to put it together themselves brick and mortar will come back. I would reference Ikea as a great example, how long does it take to assemble one of those items? Smiles, MH

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Old 05-12-19, 05:05 PM
  #328  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
If you are capable of doing your own bike/car/house/fence/mower/plumbing/appliance repair, why would you ever hire a $$$ technician to do it, other than your lack of time and inclination?

I worked in the bike industry for 30 years, often in an LBS. You know what flabbergasts me the most? The number of "cyclists" who can't fix a simple FLAT TIRE! Astounding numbers of people do not have the mental capability to remove even a front wheel and change or patch a tube. Hell, how many people don't even know there is AIR in the freaking tires!! I am dead serious here.

So between the Internet junkies (who ordered the wrong part or tool) and the complete morons who walk into almost any bike shop, it is incredible to me how most bike shop employees hold it together. Or when someone needs a 3-speed hub nut and freaks out because it costs $3. Yeah. "THREE DOLLARS!!?? THREE DOLLARS!!!!???? WTF???" It really happens.

Because the vast majority of "cyclists" don't know what end of a screwdriver to hold onto, and because companies like Shimano make so many changes that create hundreds of confusing options for doing the same function on a bicycle, there will always be backlogs and stock shortages in your LBS. It is bad biz to drown themselves in inventory that will be obsolete next year.

Sure there are some bad bike shops out there. Auto mechanics, eateries, dentists, and heart surgeons. That's life. Lucky you have a clue how to fix it yourself. And imagine how many YouTube videos there are coaching about "How To Fix A Bike Flat Tire" yet, so many can't even begin to grasp this usually simple procedure. You should certainly try to stand on the other side of the counter of a LBS and subject yourself to the azzhattery that strolls through those doors every day, and the manufacturers who spank you on the other cheek at the same time by selling product on the Web cheaper than you could get it wholesale, and see how you handle it. Based on your OPost, I doubt very well.

To answer your OP question "Why are LBS dying out"? Because they are tired of dealing with the public.

Q: How can you get a million dollars in the bike business?

A: Start with two million.
$3 dollars for a nut is a bit insane when you can go to any home improvement place and pick up nuts for 20 cents each! So yes I can see their point for getting a bit upset even though $3 isn't a lot of money it's a rip off to charge that much for a nut, and that's what is upsetting to the consumer because they feel like they're being taken. I'm sure the component manufacture that makes the nut is ripping off the LBS so the LBS has to charge enough to recoup their expense and a bit for profit, but even if the nut cost the LBS 20 cents and they charged 50 cents I think most people would be ok with that, but $3 is a bit of a shock for a nut.

As far as people who can't fix a simple flat, I find that very weird myself, what are you doing on a bike 40 miles or so from home without the knowledge to fix a flat? If you can't fix a flat because you're all thumbs ok I get that, so don't ride far from home. Todays world people no longer are growing up helping dad fix the car because todays dads take the car to shop because of the complications involved nowadays, so most people from yesteryear know how to fix flats, but today they know how to fix IPhones and laptops but don't have a clue about mechanical stuff, it's for this reason that auto mechanics are in short supply and it will get worse as time goes by.

I tried just yesterday to teach a friends 19 year old son who is autistic, was simply not on board to learn, but he could troubleshoot his IPad no problem. Mom was none too happy with her son, but mom didn't do a very good job raising him to be independent which is why the son is living at home and doesn't go to school, but does have a part time job-ehh what happened to full time work? oh yeah, that's right, he's capable of working full time but then he would lose his disability and we can't have that!
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Old 05-12-19, 07:15 PM
  #329  
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
$3 dollars for a nut is a bit insane when you can go to any home improvement place and pick up nuts for 20 cents each! So yes I can see their point for getting a bit upset even though $3 isn't a lot of money it's a rip off to charge that much for a nut, and that's what is upsetting to the consumer because they feel like they're being taken.
You just made my point PERFECTLY! Thanks! I am soooooo happy to be away from the bike biz.

$8.88 + 2.65 shipping. Go buy one at Home Depot for 50 cents, I dare you.

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Old 05-12-19, 07:21 PM
  #330  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
You just made my point PERFECTLY! Thanks! I am soooooo happy to be away from the bike biz.

$8.88 + 2.65 shipping. Go buy one at Home Depot for 50 cents, I dare you.

Guy extols the virtues of the LBS and how maligned they are because people can't understand that an obscure nut is $3. Guy is trying to show the value of the LBS for these mysterious $3 nuts.

Guy destroys his own value proposition by showing that folks can just skip the LBS and get one on eBay.

Awesome!

"Or when someone needs a 3-speed hub nut and freaks out because it costs $3. Yeah. "THREE DOLLARS!!?? THREE DOLLARS!!!!???? WTF???" It really happens."
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Old 05-12-19, 09:16 PM
  #331  
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
I'm not sure I understand why they wouldn't make money. I've ordered through my two LBS and the gear comes quickly. My problem is when I see something that is $300 on line and $400 at the LBS. There is a financial point where if I had to buy through the LBS, I couldn't afford the item.

From what I've seen, if the lbs doesn't carry the part or accessory, I can always find it quicker and cheaper online. The online operations make it from volume, so they are just structured to be able to make money at lower price point. Economies of scale in stocking, handling and shipping allow them to do this. For most lbs, they don't handle nearly enough product to pull this off. Hence the $300 and $400 price tags you're talking about.
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Old 05-12-19, 09:23 PM
  #332  
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Originally Posted by sputniky View Post
Guy extols the virtues of the LBS and how maligned they are because people can't understand that an obscure nut is $3. Guy is trying to show the value of the LBS for these mysterious $3 nuts.

Guy destroys his own value proposition by showing that folks can just skip the LBS and get one on eBay.

Awesome!

"Or when someone needs a 3-speed hub nut and freaks out because it costs $3. Yeah. "THREE DOLLARS!!?? THREE DOLLARS!!!!???? WTF???" It really happens."
Other guy doesn't notice price almost four times higher than $3 (including shipping) and having to wait 3-10 days to get it.
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Old 05-12-19, 09:36 PM
  #333  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Other guy doesn't notice price almost four times higher than $3 (including shipping) and having to wait 3-10 days to get it.

Nah, I noticed the minor difference in eBay price and understand that shipping to me would be 2 days, not 3-10.



I also realize that if someone was really concerned about the price of the nut, they could just go to Amazon and get it for $6.30 with free two day shipping .


Which is the point that the LBS evangelist guy inadvertently made. His post destroyed his LBS value proposition.
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Old 05-12-19, 09:47 PM
  #334  
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Originally Posted by sputniky View Post
Nah, I noticed the minor difference in eBay price and understand that shipping to me would be 2 days, not 3-10.



I also realize that if someone was really concerned about the price of the nut, they could just go to Amazon and get it for $6.30 with free two day shipping .


Which is the point that the LBS evangelist guy inadvertently made. His post destroyed his LBS value proposition.
In his example, the part was three bucks and in stock. Your logic sucks.
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Old 05-12-19, 09:56 PM
  #335  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
In his example, the part was three bucks and in stock. Your logic sucks.
You believed him? That's funny.
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Old 05-12-19, 10:00 PM
  #336  
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Originally Posted by sputniky View Post
You believed him? That's funny.
That's a different point than you were making.

I'm skeptical about the price he quoted, but I haven't had to buy that part in at least 35 years.
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Old 05-13-19, 12:09 AM
  #337  
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Remembering that the original complaint was about a store that sold hydraulic brakes not having the bleed kit for them... you guys are nuts if you think that same LBS would stock Sturmey Archer hub nuts.
Yep, right next to the all cotton handle bar wraps!
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Old 05-13-19, 04:30 AM
  #338  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
From what I've seen, if the lbs doesn't carry the part or accessory, I can always find it quicker and cheaper online. The online operations make it from volume, so they are just structured to be able to make money at lower price point. Economies of scale in stocking, handling and shipping allow them to do this. For most lbs, they don't handle nearly enough product to pull this off. Hence the $300 and $400 price tags you're talking about.
The screwy thing is that I believe the LBS orders their parts from an "online" operation, ie. manufacturer distributors servicing the whole country for the stuff they represent.
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Old 05-13-19, 04:50 AM
  #339  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
The screwy thing is that I believe the LBS orders their parts from an "online" operation, ie. manufacturer distributors servicing the whole country for the stuff they represent.
Which is why it costs more than ordering online yourself. In order to make money, the lbs has to charge more than they pay online.
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Old 05-13-19, 04:55 AM
  #340  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Which is why it costs more than ordering online yourself. In order to make money, the lbs has to charge more than they pay online.
But don't the online retailers have to buy the same exact stuff from the same exact distributor your LBS does? in theory, the online seller more often has to then have it double-shipped -- to them and then to you, and you'll often get free shipping. Ordering at the LBS, lots of folks would probably be happy if they arranged the item to be shipped directly to one's house (as long as it aint a part they want the LBS to install), but if anything that incurs extra shipping cost.
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Old 05-13-19, 04:59 AM
  #341  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Remembering that the original complaint was about a store that sold hydraulic brakes not having the bleed kit for them... you guys are nuts if you think that same LBS would stock Sturmey Archer hub nuts.
Yep, right next to the all cotton handle bar wraps!

If it did, it was probably a very old store that had a few in a drawer from many years ago.

I didn't say I believed Joey, I just said that your statement that him showing that you could buy the part on ebay defeated his own argument was stupid. If you follow the thread, you'll see I never order parts they don't have in stock from lbs, and I know they're aren't that many people riding three speeds these days, so I'm inclined to agree. I just think you did a spectacularly bad job of making the point.
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Old 05-13-19, 05:09 AM
  #342  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
But don't the online retailers have to buy the same exact stuff from the same exact distributor your LBS does? in theory, the online seller more often has to then have it double-shipped -- to them and then to you, and you'll often get free shipping. Ordering at the LBS, lots of folks would probably be happy if they arranged the item to be shipped directly to one's house (as long as it aint a part they want the LBS to install), but if anything that incurs extra shipping cost.
Drop shipped to you from Mfg or first level distributor. Anyone can print a shipping label with the sellers information.

I never understood why I have to make another trip to LBS to pick it up. One of my B!tches, LBS - "We have to order that part/item". Me - "Thanks anyway, I'll just order it and have it come to MY door."
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Old 05-13-19, 05:13 AM
  #343  
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
Drop shipped to you from Mfg or first level distributor. Anyone can print a shipping label with the sellers information.

I never understood why I have to make another trip to LBS to pick it up. One of my B!tches, LBS - "We have to order that part/item". Me - "Thanks anyway, I'll just order it and have it come to MY door."
I come across the drop-shipped thing most often actually from an LBS who is trying to make a go of having an online presence (eg. Brands Cycling). Comp Cyclist/backcountry sites though -- I'm pretty sure they ship from their own inventory/warehouse.
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Old 05-13-19, 07:11 AM
  #344  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
But don't the online retailers have to buy the same exact stuff from the same exact distributor your LBS does? in theory, the online seller more often has to then have it double-shipped -- to them and then to you, and you'll often get free shipping. Ordering at the LBS, lots of folks would probably be happy if they arranged the item to be shipped directly to one's house (as long as it aint a part they want the LBS to install), but if anything that incurs extra shipping cost.
Even if that's true (I don't really know how online retailers source), they would order so much more from the distributor that the shipping costs are divided among many more items, thus lowering the shipping cost per unit. The LBS is special ordering the item in real time as needed which is literally the most expensive shipping arrangement short of putting someone on a plane to pick it up, while the online retailer with the fast shipping time has obviously already purchased the item (probably in bulk) and has it in a warehouse ready to go. They can do that because they only do one thing, and their market is national instead of local so they're less likely to get caught with an overstock--someone somewhere is going to want that part. LBS are doing this as essentially a sideline, and "local" is built into the initials.
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Old 05-13-19, 11:19 AM
  #345  
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Why is no one talking about the trade war? I just heard on NPR that the bicycle tariff just been increased to 36%. Yikes!

I reckon alot of bike shop will go out of business due to tariff.
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Old 05-13-19, 11:30 AM
  #346  
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
FWIW, I live in northeast CT and have two shops within 10 min. of my house. Both are smaller. One is excellent. The other is average. About 20 min. away, on rural roads, is the best shop I've ever known and a second really good shop. None of them are in danger of going out of business.
I have nine shops within a twenty minute ride. SO much dying....

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Old 05-13-19, 12:12 PM
  #347  
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I reckon alot of bike shop will go out of business due to tariff.
Helmets and bicycle lights exempted from the Trump tariffs (they were originally included, but then some "safety" products were removed).

Most of the bikes (definitely dollar sales, probably unit sales) sold at LBS don't come from China (effected by Trump tariffs), they come from Taiwan (not effected by Trump tariffs).

Many parts come from China. But even then, for example only 11% of Shimano's production ends up in the US, and their manufacturing is in China (effected by Trump tariffs), and Malaysia and Singapore (not effected by Trump tariffs).

The Trump tariffs on bicycles mostly hit Walmart customers. (Walmart has been increasing prices as a result of the Trump tariffs rather than absorbing the cost so far. They'll still be the low cost retailer even after Trump tariff price increases.)

But customers who are buying kids bikes and entry adult bikes at the LBS will feel the Trump tariffs too.

-mr. bill
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Old 05-13-19, 06:06 PM
  #348  
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mtb addict,
I went into one of the four shop around me today and picked up nine spokes to repair a rear wheel. I don't try to stock all of the sizes here at home. I find that the LBS is a source for me of the things I don't need extras of. I will admit I paid the up-charge for them to stock all the various sizes I don't want to have around. And that price is reasonable to me.
The tariffs will hurt a lot of folks, but that is the nature of international trade. The reason I'm not screaming and jumping up and down is that I don't have any China made bikes. Now when the tariffs hit my Italian and Japanese friends I will likely join your band wagon. Smiles, MH
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Old 05-13-19, 06:10 PM
  #349  
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mr bill,
I stopped by my local co-op tonight to drop off a couple of reconditioned wheels, and just now am getting your post. If the folks who shop at WM would go to the local co-op and get the free kids bikes, or earn a bikes they won't be affected by the tariffs at all. ha!
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Old 05-13-19, 07:12 PM
  #350  
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
I use to do business with Open Air in Santa Barbara, but when I went back to them about 25 years after leaving there they shut down the big store they had in the old depot building, now they have a smaller store on state street.

Yeah, I don't believe for one minute that Bike shops are being destroyed by internet sales, and the stats are proof they are not. Small mom and pop operations have always had a tough time, I knew several that closed before the internet thing even took off because they couldn't afford to stay in business. I love bikes, but I would never go into that business as much as I would love to dream, but I'll just leave it there, in a dream.
Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
First off LBS's are not dying, don't be so dramatic! They still control 49% of the dollars made in the cycling world. The main reason that some small mom and pop shops closed was to consolidate not because of the internet, their sales were low, which is typical of mom and pop shops, so they combined their resources with another local shop to get larger buying power. So just how much business is the internet taking from LBS's? only 2 percent! heck large department, chain and discount stores take 32% of the business away from LBS's, but in reality they don't take that much business away because those type of stores sell bikes that average price is $200 whereas LBS's average sale price is $753, the LBS doesn't want the small sale anyway, there's very little profit in that stuff and they would take up valuable floor space. The rest of the percentage missing in those figures is classified as others. The thing that is hurting the bottom line, profit, on selling a new bike is the new electronic systems, it takes longer to build a bike with those then it does with mechanical, so the labor cost has doubled for those types of bikes

Usually I fix my own but on occasion I take it into a shop because I the repair I'm getting is rarely done and may need a speciality tool or two that cost a lot of money, so it's cheaper to have them fix it then to buy the tools. Even though I true my own wheels I don't have truing stand or dish tools, so if I need a pro true then I take it in because truing tools and stands are expensive, but I only have to do that maybe once in the wheels lifetime. A lot of people fix their own bikes, it's been like that since forever, however today's youth are not mechanically inclined like they once were, so LBSs are actually seeing an increase in repairs.

Anyway bike shops are not a dying breed, but I will tell you what's about to happen in the next 10 to maybe 15 years. Right now it's the baby boomer generation that's driving sales of bikes, especially expensive bikes, gen x and millennials are not! So once the baby boomers start dying off sales will start to decline by a lot; right now sales are down 10% for 2018 but the cycling industry increased prices on bikes, parts and accessories to offset the lost of sales, so dollar wise it's up 4%, but they can only increase prices so much before people start to complain loudly by closing their wallets, so probably 2019 or 2020 there will be balanced scale and it may stay like that for about 5 years, but sometime around 2024 and 2026 the dollars will also decrease as well because the baby boomers will be hanging up their bikes more and more which means less and less being spent on parts and accessories, and less and less of them are buying bikes. Just my opinion by the way.

For a bike shop to stay in business for the long haul they have to start branching out from selling just bikes, they have to find some sports that are popular in the area the store is located and start selling other sports stuff; running, snow sports, water sports, weight training stuff, etc, to keep sales hopping through various seasons. I have a bike shop in town that puts most of their remaining stock of bikes more condensed in the back of the store in the winter months and sell nothing but home gyms in the front of the store, in the spring they reverse it. I know of another shop in Bakersfield Calif that has an excellent marketing program going on, they sell all sorts of other sports and that store is popping all year round, and that store started as just a bicycle only shop, but soon discovered it was too seasonal, plus some years bike sales are slow, so they needed other stuff to keep selling no matter what happens to bikes. For those that live in Bakersfield you know which store I'm talking about, it's owned by Kerry Ryan called Action Sports; I see from visiting their web site I think they reduced some of the sports stuff to put in a Vert Rock Gym and an indoor spin class, and now it looks like they only do bikes and snow sports, and then added the gym stuff. Kerry Ryan is a very intelligent business man as well as a very talented cyclist. Some shops are putting in coffee and or IPA beer bars with club house feel to it, similar to what golf has had for many years, so people can drink, talk to others and buy stuff, the interesting thing about clubhouse type of atomosphere is that as you are talking "shop" to another customer drinking coffee or beer one of you mention you like a certain product a lot and the other person buys it! so clubhouse customers will sell each other on stuff. So a shop is going to have to think outside the box if they're going to stay in business, or at least be more profitable as lean times approach. Coffee is very profitable by the way!
Scott,
My core belief about being in business is : Do one thing and do it better than anyone else. It has served me well in both cycling, and the golf industry*. In the early 1980's I managed a shop that offered one day turn around on all repairs (unless there was a special order involved. I spent a lot of nights working until 1,am to finish the work in a timely manner. And we never left anything to chance in the repair section of the shop. We had the best following of customers in the Indianapolis area, and were at the time one of the industry leaders. I think partly because of my belief, and the open shop concept we employed (making the shop open to customers to see us work on the bikes and answer questions as we did. We were maybe thinking outside the box but we did it with a purpose in mind: making the customer part of the experience. And it worked. Along the way I mentored about forty mechanics whom most of which still work in the field. I honestly think that anyone doing their very best will succeed in the cycling industry. Smiles, MH
* member of the ICG hall of fame

Last edited by Mad Honk; 05-13-19 at 07:15 PM.
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