Death of the local bike shop- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Death of the local bike shop

    So the LBS in my town closed down this month. I was volunteering there. Story is that the owner couldn't make a profit due to pressure from well know bike shops in the two close towns and internet bike shops.

    Really sucks, it was a good shop.
    My Bike: '19 Liv Tempt 2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197 View Post
    So the LBS in my town closed down this month. I was volunteering there. Story is that the owner couldn't make a profit due to pressure from well know bike shops in the two close towns and internet bike shops.

    Really sucks, it was a good shop.
    I hate to say this but ANY store front business owner who is not riding the internet express at least on the side is losing the potential to make a lot more $$$.

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    That's a shame, Kona. Hope you were able to learn some good stuff while volunteering there.

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    Yeah, I did. Learned how to true a wheel, build a wheel, tricks to tune ups, a few things about older bikes and BMX bikes, and so many other tricks and tips.
    My Bike: '19 Liv Tempt 2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197 View Post
    Yeah, I did. Learned how to true a wheel, build a wheel, tricks to tune ups, a few things about older bikes and BMX bikes, and so many other tricks and tips.
    Sure, you can find stuff online about that stuff, but there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can substitute for learning that stuff in the atmosphere of an LBS.

    Sorry for your loss!

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    This is cool.....I found a youtube video about the bike shop owned by my friend and almost daily riding partner. Only 5 minutes, but that's enough.

    A Day at Bernie's - YouTube

  7. #7
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    Only works well when the business model is built to include internet sales. It's not the same as the local record shop that sells used DVD's on eBay and Amazon when the counter is slow. There are plenty of poorly performing businesses that *were* built around an internet sales model.

    My LBS has three large shipments from QBP and two from the bike mfg's every week. It's a good bit of work receiving and stocking, and there never is enough room, even with a separate building for bike storage and building.

    Internet sales would require not just more room, but the ability to deal with transit damage, remote diagnosis of problems, returns, charge-backs, etc. The bikes have to sell at a higher price point than in store due to shipping and insurance charges, and theft.

    All this results in more work for a LBS owner, who typically has a loaded plate running the shop as is. Once they start adding managers to help relieve the workload, the LBS starts looking more like a local chain store.

    I hate to see an LBS close up shop, but honestly, the OP's guy is blaming other shops and internest sales for his failure. Other businesses don't tend to be the reason for any given business shutting down. Business management does.

    We have been fairly well saturated with bike and various sports shops for three decades, yet new stores seem to pop up every few years. The owner of my current LBS was a manager for the local popular chain across the street for a few years. Within three years he has banked enough to toy with the idea of opening a second store. His formula is simple. Offer what the other's dont. Many of the products he carries are unique to his store, he drives the concept of a bike shop being more about biking than fitness in general, and he treats his customers as if they are the reason he is there. He watches his books closely, and will drop an item from his inventory if it doesn't sell well. He has no illusions about his store being a cool bike place to work in. He treats it as a business and protects himself from common business mistakes.

    And it's a cool bike place to work in.

    TL;DR Tailor your business to the market in which it exists, don't make it the not shop you want it to be, and all will be fine, internet sales not required to stay afloat.
    I will suffer no butt-hurt fools!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flamingtaco View Post
    Only works well when the business model is built to include internet sales. It's not the same as the local record shop that sells used DVD's on eBay and Amazon when the counter is slow. There are plenty of poorly performing businesses that *were* built around an internet sales model.

    My LBS has three large shipments from QBP and two from the bike mfg's every week. It's a good bit of work receiving and stocking, and there never is enough room, even with a separate building for bike storage and building.

    Internet sales would require not just more room, but the ability to deal with transit damage, remote diagnosis of problems, returns, charge-backs, etc. The bikes have to sell at a higher price point than in store due to shipping and insurance charges, and theft.

    All this results in more work for a LBS owner, who typically has a loaded plate running the shop as is. Once they start adding managers to help relieve the workload, the LBS starts looking more like a local chain store.

    I hate to see an LBS close up shop, but honestly, the OP's guy is blaming other shops and internest sales for his failure. Other businesses don't tend to be the reason for any given business shutting down. Business management does.

    We have been fairly well saturated with bike and various sports shops for three decades, yet new stores seem to pop up every few years. The owner of my current LBS was a manager for the local popular chain across the street for a few years. Within three years he has banked enough to toy with the idea of opening a second store. His formula is simple. Offer what the other's dont. Many of the products he carries are unique to his store, he drives the concept of a bike shop being more about biking than fitness in general, and he treats his customers as if they are the reason he is there. He watches his books closely, and will drop an item from his inventory if it doesn't sell well. He has no illusions about his store being a cool bike place to work in. He treats it as a business and protects himself from common business mistakes.

    And it's a cool bike place to work in.

    TL;DR Tailor your business to the market in which it exists, don't make it the not shop you want it to be, and all will be fine, internet sales not required to stay afloat.
    Internet sales are not actually run through the shop. It has to be a different business and location all together, run by a different group of people. The only thing similar between the shop and internet sales dept is the business name and a staff that is familiar with both businesses. The truth is, it may well outdo what the shop brings in if it's managed correctly. In fact, it could get HUGE. Lots and lots of examples of this out there. Many of the big online bike supply websites we order from started out as little Mom & Pop bikes shops. We cannot exclude the potential that online sales can bring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flamingtaco View Post
    Only works well when the business model is built to include internet sales. It's not the same as the local record shop that sells used DVD's on eBay and Amazon when the counter is slow. There are plenty of poorly performing businesses that *were* built around an internet sales model.

    My LBS has three large shipments from QBP and two from the bike mfg's every week. It's a good bit of work receiving and stocking, and there never is enough room, even with a separate building for bike storage and building.

    Internet sales would require not just more room, but the ability to deal with transit damage, remote diagnosis of problems, returns, charge-backs, etc. The bikes have to sell at a higher price point than in store due to shipping and insurance charges, and theft.

    All this results in more work for a LBS owner, who typically has a loaded plate running the shop as is. Once they start adding managers to help relieve the workload, the LBS starts looking more like a local chain store.

    I hate to see an LBS close up shop, but honestly, the OP's guy is blaming other shops and internest sales for his failure. Other businesses don't tend to be the reason for any given business shutting down. Business management does.

    We have been fairly well saturated with bike and various sports shops for three decades, yet new stores seem to pop up every few years. The owner of my current LBS was a manager for the local popular chain across the street for a few years. Within three years he has banked enough to toy with the idea of opening a second store. His formula is simple. Offer what the other's dont. Many of the products he carries are unique to his store, he drives the concept of a bike shop being more about biking than fitness in general, and he treats his customers as if they are the reason he is there. He watches his books closely, and will drop an item from his inventory if it doesn't sell well. He has no illusions about his store being a cool bike place to work in. He treats it as a business and protects himself from common business mistakes.

    And it's a cool bike place to work in.

    TL;DR Tailor your business to the market in which it exists, don't make it the not shop you want it to be, and all will be fine, internet sales not required to stay afloat.
    That's why my friend's hole-in-the-wall shop perseveres: he caters to a 'clientele' in large part comprised of folks that only get on the internet at the public library.
    They are the folks that get shown the door right away when they walk, shuffle, or shamble into Performance Bikes just down the road a spell.

    He'll work on ANYBODY's bike, as long as they behave themselves while they are in his shop.
    Although, I've had one or two guys take a swing at me right there in his shop on a couple of occasions! Keeps things interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Ray View Post
    That's why my friend's hole-in-the-wall shop perseveres: he caters to a 'clientele' in large part comprised of folks that only get on the internet at the public library.
    They are the folks that get shown the door right away when they walk, shuffle, or shamble into Performance Bikes just down the road a spell.

    He'll work on ANYBODY's bike, as long as they behave themselves while they are in his shop.
    Although, I've had one or two guys take a swing at me right there in his shop on a couple of occasions! Keeps things interesting.
    Can't argue with the old world way of things but the new generation with their high speed hand held devices that can wipe their asses for them with one touch of the screen are going to bury that way of thinking once and for all before too long.

    Oh, I hate it believe me. I think the electronic frontier has only made humanity worse. But there is no avoiding it. Eventually, we will all have to "conform".

    I only suggest having a branch of internet sales within a business because that is where everything is headed. Small businesses are being swallowed up at an alarming rate. It all started with the super stores like Walmart and Home Depot. Now it's gone electronic...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Ray View Post
    He'll work on ANYBODY's bike, as long as they behave themselves while they are in his shop.
    Although, I've had one or two guys take a swing at me right there in his shop on a couple of occasions! Keeps things interesting.
    What kind of shop is this? Who's taking swings at somebody in a bike shop? Sounds like the dive bar where I used to bartend. Anybody who behaves gets served. Got swung at on occasion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Danger View Post
    What kind of shop is this? Who's taking swings at somebody in a bike shop? Sounds like the dive bar where I used to bartend. Anybody who behaves gets served. Got swung at on occasion.
    You know, a bike shop has some pretty unique tools that could serve as interesting torturing devices. Set up a torture chamber in a back room of the shop and let the fun begin for those who have earned the treatment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Danger View Post
    What kind of shop is this? Who's taking swings at somebody in a bike shop? Sounds like the dive bar where I used to bartend. Anybody who behaves gets served. Got swung at on occasion.
    These peeps are often homeless, SSI-collecting, mentally ill. Roger will kick them out for good when that happens, but I usually make things right with them first. I always do. Without the shop, their lives are essentially compromised to the breaking point, and I seriously mean that.

    These folks are living on the bleeding edge of life and death, and just a nudge can be it for them. So, I always take it really easy on them.

    BTW, he just called me to tell me that he got hit in the face by one of those night hawks that squat down in the middle of the trail in the dark. They always fly away before you get to them, except tonight. This one flew right up into his face. It stung a bit.

    Kinda like some of his customers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
    You know, a bike shop has some pretty unique tools that could serve as interesting torturing devices. Set up a torture chamber in a back room of the shop and let the fun begin for those who have earned the treatment.
    There was one guy, Hawg, his entire face was tattooed. He came into the shop about 3 times a week for months, and "interviewed" the new bikes in the rack. Seriously.

    He had entire conversations with them.....apparently they talked back to him. Answered his questions, and such.

    I think he finally took his SSI check and bought himself a new bike. And I believe he got it stolen off him within a month or so.

    Humanity! It's great to remember; we ALL are human.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Ray View Post
    There was one guy, Hawg, his entire face was tattooed. He came into the shop about 3 times a week for months, and "interviewed" the new bikes in the rack. Seriously.

    He had entire conversations with them.....apparently they talked back to him. Answered his questions, and such.

    I think he finally took his SSI check and bought himself a new bike. And I believe he got it stolen off him within a month or so.

    Humanity! It's great to remember; we ALL are human.
    Wow, Ray what the heck do you guys got going on down there? So many weirdos. Why so many?

    BTW, I truly appreciate your compassion. It's a quality that has been all but forgotten by the new generation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
    Wow, Ray what the heck do you guys got going on down there? So many weirdos. Why so many?

    BTW, I truly appreciate your compassion. It's a quality that has been all but forgotten by the new generation.
    It's called Ocean Beach, Hawg, or just OB. It's quite the community.
    Somebody once did a coffee table type photo book entititled: OB: the Far End of America.

    It's where I-8 basically runs into the Pacific Ocean.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Ray View Post
    These peeps are often homeless, SSI-collecting, mentally ill. Roger will kick them out for good when that happens, but I usually make things right with them first. I always do. Without the shop, their lives are essentially compromised to the breaking point, and I seriously mean that.
    Yep, sounds just like how I conducted myself as a bartender.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Ray View Post
    It's called Ocean Beach, Hawg, or just OB. It's quite the community.
    Somebody once did a coffee table type photo book entititled: OB: the Far End of America.

    It's where I-8 basically runs into the Pacific Ocean.
    I know all about OB. It is quite "colorful" there. You could always move up to MB or PB to get away from all dat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
    I know all about OB. It is quite "colorful" there. You could always move up to MB or PB to get away from all dat.
    I actually live outside OB....I'm one zip code digit away, and I can literally see it from my porch.

    PB, believe it or not, has much higher violent crime stats. Something to do with the proliferation of MMA-schools within walking distance of drinking establishments.

  20. #20
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    I hate to see an LBS close up shop, but honestly, the OP's guy is blaming other shops and internest sales for his failure. Other businesses don't tend to be the reason for any given business shutting down. Business management does.
    Well I don't want to be mean, but the owner's attitude wasn't always the best. And towards the end he didn't want to order parts for people or stock bikes.
    My Bike: '19 Liv Tempt 2
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    Good old OB. I lived about a block from it
    on West Point Loma Blvd years ago. My wife
    lived in the heart of OB for years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kuhl View Post
    Good old OB. I lived about a block from it
    on West Point Loma Blvd years ago. My wife
    lived in the heart of OB for years.
    I did too. Now I live 2 miles from the heart of Newport Ave.
    Degree of separation, but still a 10 minute pedal away.

  23. #23
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    That's happened even more so in the hobby shop business.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Ray View Post
    I actually live outside OB....I'm one zip code digit away, and I can literally see it from my porch.

    PB, believe it or not, has much higher violent crime stats. Something to do with the proliferation of MMA-schools within walking distance of drinking establishments.
    Yes, I have heard that, too. Poor MB is sammiched in between.

  25. #25
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    I have found a new start-up LBS and am doing everything I can to support it. It's just a small mom and pop shop (actually a very nice young couple owns it) and they specialize in service. I pay a tad more than online, of course, but they're within five minutes drive and deserve my support.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Ray View Post
    It's called Ocean Beach, Hawg, or just OB. It's quite the community.
    Somebody once did a coffee table type photo book entititled: OB: the Far End of America.

    It's where I-8 basically runs into the Pacific Ocean.
    I was reading an article related to problems with the homeless and mentally insane, I think it was in Long Beach? Anyway there's apparently a law there that says the homeless are allowed to sleep on the street until there are X number of beds made available for them. The law is years old and there's no intention to ever help the homeless with the housing they need and the residents just deal with it as best they can.

    I was just downtown here, and there are mentally ill and criminal types all over the place. It's a shame but that's the way the whole country is heading whether the residents want to face that fact or not.

    Anyway, back on topic, there's only a couple of shops here, focusing on entry level bikes for the college crowd, and high end bikes for people with money but no ability to build their own bike. Nothing interests me there, but I do try to buy accessories from a LBS when I need something.
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197 View Post
    Well I don't want to be mean, but the owner's attitude wasn't always the best. And towards the end he didn't want to order parts for people or stock bikes.
    Then, that alone was his downfall. My brick-and-mortar LBS business model is:

    1) Internet Sales
    2) Repairs
    3) Parts
    4) Accessories

    If your LBS owner added mobile repair and/or rentals....he would still be around. Seems like he got burned-out....
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    Perhaps the future of the LBS is as some sort of co-op.

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    The key may be being a dealer for a brand that you can't buy mail-order or from REI/Performance/etc.

    Our LBS is in a quiet location with a narrow storefront. It doesn't look like much.

    However, he took me back in the stockroom, and it is stacked to the ceiling with Treks. I'm guessing he had 50-75 bikes in there, and about that many on the floor. He definitely moves some stock. You see lots of Treks on the trails around here, and he sold most of them.

    He discounts the bikes more than anyone else in the area -- one of the if not only that discounts at all in fact. I got a '12 Superfly AL elite, MSRB about $2200 as I recall. He gave me $150 off, on top of a $100 Trek Demo coupon I had. He stocks mostly lower-end stuff. Mine wasn't in stock, but he had it in two or three days.

    He offers great service, never any hassles with returns or warranty work. His repair service is reasonable.

    There are three other viable LBSs in a college town about 25 miles from here. Another is Trek dealer that does not discount, and also carries Niner. Another is a top-tier Specialized dealer that also has Cannondale. Another is Giant & Felt.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisF View Post
    The key may be being a dealer for a brand that you can't buy mail-order or from REI/Performance/etc.

    Our LBS is in a quiet location with a narrow storefront. It doesn't look like much.

    However, he took me back in the stockroom, and it is stacked to the ceiling with Treks. I'm guessing he had 50-75 bikes in there, and about that many on the floor. He definitely moves some stock. You see lots of Treks on the trails around here, and he sold most of them.

    He discounts the bikes more than anyone else in the area -- one of the if not only that discounts at all in fact. I got a '12 Superfly AL elite, MSRB about $2200 as I recall. He gave me $150 off, on top of a $100 Trek Demo coupon I had. He stocks mostly lower-end stuff. Mine wasn't in stock, but he had it in two or three days.

    He offers great service, never any hassles with returns or warranty work. His repair service is reasonable.

    There are three other viable LBSs in a college town about 25 miles from here. Another is Trek dealer that does not discount, and also carries Niner. Another is a top-tier Specialized dealer that also has Cannondale. Another is Giant & Felt.
    Wow, this guy sounds like a real gem. Care to divulge the name of the shop for props?
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    Absolutely!

    Apalachee Cycle

    Dacula, GA.

    Bruce is the owner.

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