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  1. #1
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    Reputation: Lawson Raider's Avatar
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    Wish I could start a Ray's MTB in KC!

    For the past year or so, I always wanted to go out to Ray's MTB park in Cleveland but never had the dough to do it. I know I cannot be the only one in the KC area that would really go ape-nuts if there were a Ray's MTB park or a similar indoor facility in our area.

    I emailed Ray at one time and asked him if he ever thought about franchising to other locales and he said it wasn't feasible at the time. Obviously, during the summer months, folks would rather ride outdoors and nothing wrong with that. To make it feasible in our area, would have to have stuff that could keep the operation good for year round that would attract folks to keep the business floating.

    I have never started a business and with no moolah to start out with; it's probably just a fantasy. I believe I could come up with a good business model that would keep it attractive all year round by offering other stuff in addition to riding activities. It would be youth oriented as that would be the largest market.

    What do you guys think? At least the dreaming of it is free!

  2. #2
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    Reputation: Ken in KC's Avatar
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    I think...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lawson Raider
    For the past year or so, I always wanted to go out to Ray's MTB park in Cleveland but never had the dough to do it. I know I cannot be the only one in the KC area that would really go ape-nuts if there were a Ray's MTB park or a similar indoor facility in our area.

    I emailed Ray at one time and asked him if he ever thought about franchising to other locales and he said it wasn't feasible at the time. Obviously, during the summer months, folks would rather ride outdoors and nothing wrong with that. To make it feasible in our area, would have to have stuff that could keep the operation good for year round that would attract folks to keep the business floating.

    I have never started a business and with no moolah to start out with; it's probably just a fantasy. I believe I could come up with a good business model that would keep it attractive all year round by offering other stuff in addition to riding activities. It would be youth oriented as that would be the largest market.

    What do you guys think? At least the dreaming of it is free!
    I think you know very little about Ray's busines model. Otherwise you would know why he can't open other locations (not franchising).

    Why it won't work...
    The biggest challenge you'll have to overcome is the cost of space. Light industrial costs $15-$20/sq ft. in KC. Figure your square footage requirements, determine your annual space costs. Then find a building that has about 3 stories (30 ft.) of unobstructed, internal elevation and go for it. After that, you can add up these costs:

    - Liability insurance.
    - General business insurance.
    - Taxes
    - Capital Requirements
    - Payroll

    So if it takes 20,000 sq ft, figure $300,000 annually.
    Add another $50,000 - $100,000 for the other stuff I listed and that's the revenue target you'll need hit.

    I think if you run numbers, you'll find that KC doesn't have the population density to keep the doors open on something like Rays.

    When you combine that with 150 miles of (mostly) free singletrack and the 2-3 (free) FR/DJ parks/trails opening up in next year or so plus the multiple (free) skate parks in the city parks and you'll be competing against free trails that offer the same type of riding.

  3. #3
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    Reputation: Lawson Raider's Avatar
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    I was thinking more of a multipurpose facility that would offer activities that would attract folks.

    I admit that this is just probably a wacky idea and wish and I am sure Ray's model is way different that what I would think of.

    I agree 100% with you that we have outstanding trails around our area and the guys here do a great job in keeping them up to shape. In the summer and fall months, the riding is generally pretty good. Winter and Spring tends to be way off and some on because of snow, ice, rain, and the freeze/thaw cycles that limit our riding opportunities.

    That is why an indoor facility would be a really nice thing to have around the area so folks could ride when they cannot ride outside. In addition, during the winter months, work schedules make riding very hard to do because of the freeze/thaw cycles we have here.

    Plus, an indoor facility would be more comfortable for folks that would like a warmer alternative to riding in the cold if someone so chose to do so.

    IAW mtbr trail reviews, Ohio has 97 trails which is 3 less than we have in Missouri. Granted, our winters are less severe and shorter than what they have up in Cleveland but the premise is probably still the same; giving folks an alternate place to get their ride fix on when they can't outside.

    Like I said, this is probably just a fantasy and all that. Nothin wrong with just dreaming.

  4. #4
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    Reputation: Ken in KC's Avatar
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    Yeah but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lawson Raider
    Winter and Spring tends to be way off and some on because of snow, ice, rain, and the freeze/thaw cycles that limit our riding opportunities.

    That is why an indoor facility would be a really nice thing to have around the area so folks could ride when they cannot ride outside. In addition, during the winter months, work schedules make riding very hard to do because of the freeze/thaw cycles we have here.

    Plus, an indoor facility would be more comfortable for folks that would like a warmer alternative to riding in the cold if someone so chose to do so.

    IAW mtbr trail reviews, Ohio has 97 trails which is 3 less than we have in Missouri. Granted, our winters are less severe and shorter than what they have up in Cleveland but the premise is probably still the same; giving folks an alternate place to get their ride fix on when they can't outside.

    Like I said, this is probably just a fantasy and all that. Nothin wrong with just dreaming.
    Winter riding depends on the weather cycle for the year. Some years are colder (more riding) and some are warmer (less riding).

    Most of Ohio's trails aren't around Cleveland and due to the proximity to KS, you need to add the KS trails to your search.

    Again, it's a numbers game. What do you charge for entry? $10/session? You need 30,000 people to come through the door. Based on 3 months of winter (approximately 90 days), you'd need to get over 300 people/day through the doors. We don't have the population density to support that many people/day.

  5. #5
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    Reputation: Lawson Raider's Avatar
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    You have very valid points Ken. I agree that a indoor mtb facility that only catered to mtb riders would not make fiscal sense because it would not make enough money to stay in business.

    The facility would have to offer other activities (a mutli purpose facility) to have a chance to be viable. What other activities could be combined with the indoor mtb facility to keep it a viable year round operation? That is the question.

  6. #6
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    Sigh...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lawson Raider
    You have very valid points Ken. I agree that a indoor mtb facility that only catered to mtb riders would not make fiscal sense because it would not make enough money to stay in business.

    The facility would have to offer other activities (a mutli purpose facility) to have a chance to be viable. What other activities could be combined with the indoor mtb facility to keep it a viable year round operation? That is the question.
    More activities require more space. More space = more cost. So add another 20,000 sq' for skateboard, more space for BMX, etc. etc. etc.

    So the number of paying customers has just gone from 300 to 700+ per day.

    More activities mean more more cost, across the board. The only way it doesn't is if more users can use the same space for different activities without increasing space, employees, insurance costs, etc.

    Again, KC doesn't have the population density to support this, in my opinion.

  7. #7
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    Reputation: Lawson Raider's Avatar
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    25 Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA Greater Cleveland, Northeast Ohio OH 02,096,471 02,148,010 A338 -2.40% Cleveland-Akron-Elyria, OH CSA

    26 Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA MSA Greater Sacramento CA 02,091,120 01,796,857 A051+16.38% Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Yuba City, CA-NV CSA

    27 Orlando-Kissimmee, FL MSA Greater Orlando, Central Florida FL 02,032,496 01,644,563 A026+23.59% Orlando-Deltona-Daytona Beach, FL CSA

    28 San Antonio, TX MSA Greater San Antonio TX 01,990,675 01,711,721 A052+16.30% ZZZ

    29 Kansas City, MO-KS MSA Greater Kansas City MO-KS 01,985,429 01,836,423 A150 +8.11% Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS CSA

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...opolitan_areas

    The populations of both cities are about the same with the noted that KC has an 8 percentage increase while Cleveland has a 2 percent decrease since 2000.

    However, in support of your argument, Cleveland does have within proximity other metro areas such as Columbus, OH, Pittsburgh, PA, Toledo, OH, Akron, OK, Canton, OH which makes Cleveland more advantageous. KC's closest metro would be Omaha, NE about 170 miles away with Wichita, KS and St. Louis, MO around 230 miles or so. In snowy weather, not many folks are gonna want to make the haul across state to ride.

    Even with the population that makes Ray's profitable enough with all the costs he would have to incur, I still wonder how he is able to keep the business going. I mean folks drive from state(s) away to go ride there; some even in bad weather. And his business model is close to straight bikers.

  8. #8
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    Typical...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lawson Raider
    25 Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA Greater Cleveland, Northeast Ohio OH 02,096,471 02,148,010 A338 -2.40% Cleveland-Akron-Elyria, OH CSA

    26 Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA MSA Greater Sacramento CA 02,091,120 01,796,857 A051+16.38% Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Yuba City, CA-NV CSA

    27 Orlando-Kissimmee, FL MSA Greater Orlando, Central Florida FL 02,032,496 01,644,563 A026+23.59% Orlando-Deltona-Daytona Beach, FL CSA

    28 San Antonio, TX MSA Greater San Antonio TX 01,990,675 01,711,721 A052+16.30% ZZZ

    29 Kansas City, MO-KS MSA Greater Kansas City MO-KS 01,985,429 01,836,423 A150 +8.11% Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS CSA

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...opolitan_areas

    The populations of both cities are about the same with the noted that KC has an 8 percentage increase while Cleveland has a 2 percent decrease since 2000.

    However, in support of your argument, Cleveland does have within proximity other metro areas such as Columbus, OH, Pittsburgh, PA, Toledo, OH, Akron, OK, Canton, OH which makes Cleveland more advantageous. KC's closest metro would be Omaha, NE about 170 miles away with Wichita, KS and St. Louis, MO around 230 miles or so. In snowy weather, not many folks are gonna want to make the haul across state to ride.

    Even with the population that makes Ray's profitable enough with all the costs he would have to incur, I still wonder how he is able to keep the business going. I mean folks drive from state(s) away to go ride there; some even in bad weather. And his business model is close to straight bikers.
    As usual, Lawson, you're taking one point and arguing it to justify your opinion, regardless of the bigger picture. Kansas City doesn't have the population density to support a Ray's type business based on the operating costs. I'm not suggesting that any other city in comparable size is any different (including Cleveland).

    The variable in the discussion isn't population density, it's operating cost. Ray's operating cost is lower than what most people could get, so his business model works for him, regardless of whether his location has the correct population density or not.

    You stated in your orginal post that you've never run a busines. That's obvious. The big secret to running a business is to bring in more than you spend. In the case of individual, fringe participation sports (like FR, BMX, Skateboarding, etc) one (of many) considerations in determining whether or not your revenue will be higher than your cost is whether or not there's enough people in a geographic area to support the business based on projected costs. If you can lower your costs, you're less dependent on population density to make your goal.

    You asked for opinions and then proceeded to argue against those opinions. If you think you have the better answers, by all means, start your business.
    Good luck.

  9. #9
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    FWIW I'm pretty sure I read that Ray got an awesome deal on basically abandoned commercial property, and that he got lots of volunteer labor, and did not turn a profit until recently. Just for fun I looked at some ads in our area (San Francisco) for warehouse space in an older warehouse area, stopped when I saw one ad for a 37000 sq ft facility (not even knowing configuration) and the price of the building was $ 5.5 mil or lease at $148 sq ft....good thing we have year round riding weather here!

    Another consideration...mountain bikers tend to be, uh, thrifty.
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
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