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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Okay, for the frame work I spent almost the last 20 years in bike industry, and working in shops WITH Training Center, Coffee, Etc and shops without.

IF YOU go back to, or are in a period in which you were looking for shop would you rather have Good Coffee, Training Center, Etc over things like Bicycle Repair Pick-Up and Drop-Off/Mobile Repair?

Other additions would be parts delivery to your home/office. Does having these services overcome things like having more room for assembled bicycles, having more repair bays/faster turn around? Perhaps a service stand you can rent hourly?

To remove some variables the shops I mention would have true in-store coffee shop space and baristas, as well as dedicated training center space.

Discuss
 

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Teo! Dude! Long time no see! Howzit hangin'?

Anyway, to get to your questions:

I'd much rather have a shop that is a good place to hang out than enhanced repair facilities. I'm at the phase where I do my own work, and I don't buy bikes or components from a shop, nor am I buying parts other than lube and tubes. I will buy clothes and some accessories from a shop, but that's it. I, however, may not be a typical consumer.

The "rent a work stand" deal is actually pretty cool. We have a bike co-op near us that does a decent business helping folks work on their bikes. The real value there is having someone available who can walk a budding mechanic through a job and having tools available. They wisely don't let the noobs use the more expensive tools, like bb taps, reamers and the like, but that's fine.

EDIT: my buddies and I have been kicking around the concept of a bike "clubhouse" and hang out for a while. Sort of a coffee place really geared toward cyclists, with beer taps and trainers for winter or night training sessions. Group rides. Tour watching parties. Paris Roubaix watching parties. Parties in general. Workstands and some tools. And a storage area where you can hide that bike that you didn't tell your spouse that you bought. Maybe a membership thing. Don't know if it would generate enough $$ to be viable in the DC area. You would need a really cheap rent.

EDIT II: other thought with the clubhouse would be to get a QBP distributorship so that "members" could order parts at wholesale.

Greg
 

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Call me a Luddite, but my priorities in a bike shop are any shop with honest and talented mechanics and salespeople, period. I don't need gimmickery added to my LBS experience. :)
 
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1. Urban "cycling lifestyle" stores. There are already a few of these here in Chicago. Focused on commuters, fashion and no lycra. They sell bikes in addition to non-bike stuff. Lots of Dutch-style bikes and cycling clothing that doesn't look like cycling clothing.
2. High end direct sales. This will be primarily on the internet but we'll see more small shops that sell their own brands, kind of like Franco. Very little kept in stock, bikes are ordered on demand. Fit services and aesthetic customization studios. Reasonable but high prices. These are already starting to take over in Europe. They'll steal sales tactics and design from the Apple store.
3. Pop-up / home based / mobile mechanic services. Very low overhead, higher margins, owner-operated. Internet-facilitated scheduling. I have my doubts about this business model but we'll probably see more people giving it a try.
4. Super nichey stores. Gravel-focused, MTB focused, tri focused, high end Italian focused etc. They'll sell carefully "curated" collections of bikes / apparel / parts that have a shared aesthetic "vision". Small stores with strong senses of style.
5. The $400 hybrid market is ceded entirely to big box / department stores.
 

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Thing with tech-support and retail only locations.....they're honestly a dime a dozen. One does you wrong (real or imagined) you can find another easily in most urban areas.



Shops that have personality and are a hangout aren't that way. Although I'll admit I'm seldom in a shop long enough but for a doodad or pickup/dropoff a job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Teo! Dude! Long time no see! Howzit hangin'?

Anyway, to get to your questions:

I'd much rather have a shop that is a good place to hang out than enhanced repair facilities. I'm at the phase where I do my own work, and I don't buy bikes or components from a shop, nor am I buying parts other than lube and tubes. I will buy clothes and some accessories from a shop, but that's it. I, however, may not be a typical consumer.

The "rent a work stand" deal is actually pretty cool. We have a bike co-op near us that does a decent business helping folks work on their bikes. The real value there is having someone available who can walk a budding mechanic through a job and having tools available. They wisely don't let the noobs use the more expensive tools, like bb taps, reamers and the like, but that's fine.

EDIT: my buddies and I have been kicking around the concept of a bike "clubhouse" and hang out for a while. Sort of a coffee place really geared toward cyclists, with beer taps and trainers for winter or night training sessions. Group rides. Tour watching parties. Paris Roubaix watching parties. Parties in general. Workstands and some tools. And a storage area where you can hide that bike that you didn't tell your spouse that you bought. Maybe a membership thing. Don't know if it would generate enough $$ to be viable in the DC area. You would need a really cheap rent.

EDIT II: other thought with the clubhouse would be to get a QBP distributorship so that "members" could order parts at wholesale.

Greg
I'm good! I'll get in touch directly and your contact via PM, I have done some work on the clubhouse aspect and have a couple things that may help. The storage thing makes me laugh, I had a manager in my early days that only bought red bikes and because he'd been auto industry had some good painters to work with when he wanted one that didn't come in red.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the thoughtful, detailed response. I was more looking for opinion over the variations in current market, I probably should have mad this a Poll, but wanted to see where peoples passion and fire were. If you went back to the time in which you would/could have formed some interest in having a shop to deal with would you look at a shop with less footprint and selection over one that was half lifestyle center.
 

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I'd prefer a Pro shop with great mechanics and without parents buying Comfort bikes for themselves, and BMX style bikes for their kids. Oh yeah.....and prices only 10-15% higher than online prices.............It also wouldn't hurt to have women mechanics that you can pretend to flirt with.
 

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I like the idea of social space for cyclists. Lounge area, coffee/beer, a few work stands and TV's. Maybe a pool table. Repair and parts delivery do not interest me any, but several of the guys I ride with on occasion don't seem to do much of their own work or parts sourcing. So yes, I would like the entertainment and training angle better than the sales/repair, although I think it might be difficult to generate revenue from that except through maybe beverage sales.

As a business outsider, it seems to me the big difficulty in cycling retail is the ability to be all things to all people. I would think that probably the biggest revenue source is the entry to mid level rider who doesn't do his/her own repairs and isn't savvy enough to buy his/her own bike but the most reliable source would be a guy like me (middle aged, fair amount of disposable income) but I don't generally buy new bikes and if I were, it would not be the mainstream types offered in most non-urban bike shops. Anyway I think a social space would be the best way to bring a guy like me into a shop.
 

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Grew up in our family's bike shop. There were always hangers-on and friends hanging out. I kind of enjoyed it as mechanic, sales guy. So the idea of making it more formal with coffee, seating and such sound very appealing to me. However .. I have been in bike shops that had a coffee bar .. and the coffee bar was disused and standoffish. unappealing due to the snobby lousy service attitude of the staff (I am talking about YOU Trek bike store in Victoria BC!), never seemed to be any0one manning the coffee bar

I do not buy parts and service from bike shops much. In fact in this age of pretty much every bike part available cheap online and most enthusiasts doing their own wrenching, I think it is more cool to have a upscale coffee shop or cafe with a small bike shop / repair shop component to it. Instead of a formal bike shop as the focus. I have seen some like this on the Cycling Maven youtube channel .. and kind of wish they had something like that here to stop in during a ride for coffee or lunch, bikes inside. maybe a 80% cafe, 20% bike shop is a better mix.

but the main shortcoming of perhaps a majority of bike shops here is: BAD ATTITUDE of the staff. And I know all about it, having worked in 4 bike shops myself in the 80s, seen it all too often. Around here it is a serious issue, and a huge turnoff. I am in small business myself and know that attitude is 90% of the consideration when hiring and training staff .. so it amazes me that so many bike shop owners have never come to realize this. In fact, in retrospect I don't think my dad focused on it enough back in the days we had a shop, 70s 80s, though he did build a loyal following of enthusiasts and casual riders too.
 

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seldom use a shop, so place little to no importance on social amenities...coffee bar, seating, pool tables (huh?) seem kinda silly...just set up a Keurig dispenser if you need to offer java. way cheaper than hiring a barista...

competent wrenches, reasonable T/A times are the most desirable things to me.

counter help with at least a detectable personality is always nice too.

but, a shop isn't going to survive on income from people like me, so they should figure out what their target market wants and cater to that...
 

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Plus one to good customer service, hawt female wrench, and lounging space. We take coffee for granted. Throw a bigscreen TV in there to play old races and live feeds.

When I worked in several shops while in college from '78-'81, we seemed okay with the customer service angle. One time even a cute highschooler girl mechanic (she could barely swap out a tube...that's not code) worked for us, but we would've ruled with a lounge area and good coffee. Nobody much thought of that crap back then.
 

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coffee should be simple, free*, piping hot and black, with no one manning the pot. regulars should know how to make a new pot. tip jar* to keep it going.
 

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Okay, for the frame work I spent almost the last 20 years in bike industry, and working in shops WITH Training Center, Coffee, Etc and shops without.

IF YOU go back to, or are in a period in which you were looking for shop would you rather have Good Coffee, Training Center, Etc over things like Bicycle Repair Pick-Up and Drop-Off/Mobile Repair?

Other additions would be parts delivery to your home/office. Does having these services overcome things like having more room for assembled bicycles, having more repair bays/faster turn around? Perhaps a service stand you can rent hourly?

To remove some variables the shops I mention would have true in-store coffee shop space and baristas, as well as dedicated training center space.

Discuss
I am turned off by pretentiousness so a fancy coffee bar wouldn't get me in the door. I do a lot of my own work but there are certain things I am willing to pay for that require knowledge and experience. I like a shop that doesn't seem confused when you mention Campy. While I like the idea of a hot female mechanic, at 54 I can't see any scenario where me being involved wouldn't be creepy
 

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I don't need gimmickery added to my LBS experience. :)
YOU may not, but there's a constant turnover in cycling aficionados and the bike shops have to keep relevant. Reinventing yourself with changes in the market is the way to succeed. I DO agree with you however; I don't need flash, just knowledgeable people, or at least those who know where to look for the answers.

Add a coffee shop to the bike shop? Great idea if the shop can be the focal point for group rides, meet ups, whatever. If the shop's location doesn't lend itself to that, then don't bother. Remember the maxim, "Location, location, location."

A spin class studio would be a great idea if space and finances allow. Even linking a bike shop to a fitness center would work under the right circumstances. Space for WINTER training would be a big seller even if just for the social aspect-many people are holed up in the basement for the winter. It would be fun and worth it to bring my bike and rollers to a studio on a weekend day and ride with others even in a non-structured class.

More bikes on display? My mind always sees more of ANYTHING on display as an indication the shop might have what I want. That includes parts and accessories. Yes to more bikes on display.

Repair or parts pickup/delivery? I don't need it but if you have a busy market and can charge for the service, by all means do it. Makes me think of dry cleaning.
 
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