Local Bike Shop Questions

Shaggz

A strong 7
PLEASE KEEP THIS IN THE RANGE OF ON TOPIC!!!!!!

JDog, quite frankly, your shop is too darn far for me to travel to. it is obvious, however, that you have a loyal following. maybe next year if i road trip to some of the trails local to your shop, i will stop in.

You posted the other day about creating a product database - are you planning on having a web presence, as well? how long have you been in business, and are you the original owner? has the internet impacted your business neg/pos? not putting you on the spot, but since you are the only lbs owner that posts on the board, it would be interesting to hear your perspective as a service and products provider.

anyone from either side of the counter, with relevant information or questions, please jump in.
 
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jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
You asked for it...

Shaggz said:
PLEASE KEEP THIS IN THE RANGE OF ON TOPIC!!!!!!

JDog, quite frankly, your shop is too darn far for me to travel to. it is obvious, however, that you have a loyal following. maybe next year if i road trip to some of the trails local to your shop, i will stop in.

You posted the other day about creating a product database - are you planning on having a web presence, as well? how long have you been in business, and are you the original owner? has the internet impacted your business neg/pos? not putting you on the spot, but since you are the only lbs owner that posts on the board, it would be interesting to hear your perspective as a service and products provider.

anyone from either side of the counter, with relevant information or questions, please jump in.

As this seems to be aimed squarely at me..


First off let me say that the reason that I have been more active on this board is the database I have been working on. I have been looking for anything to take a break form this awful, tedious and painful work of database data entry.

I am building a database that will track the inventory on hand and customers of the shop. The reason for this database is the new point of sale system that will (hopefully) make my life easier as a shop manager/owner.

I am using a Microsoft POS system that has been modified specifically for use in the bike industry. I am also using a database building program called Bike-a-log which is basically designed to streamline this process via a pre-built matrix of bike models, sizes, colors .. etc.

I now know all the backroom work that goes into every barcode scan and BEEP that you hear in nearly every retail store that we shop in.

In terms of web presence, I don’t have any plans for e-commerce or anything of the sort. I am aware that once my database is in place it could be aligned with a web site that could show the public what we stock. My only current use for a web site is basically a big yellpage ad.. Here we are, this is what we do, these are the brands we sell.

I basically am anti web sales.. For me I really take great enjoyment from the relationships that I have built face to face with my customers. I find web sales soulless. While a great amount of income could be made via the web, I am not interested in selling widgets and just turning cash. Yet. When I get older and I am over it I will turn to web sales and the race for volume and best price. For now I will search out items that have a great deal of usefulness to me that I can also sell at a price that is competitive with mail order or web sales.

The best part of my job comes when I can share my love of cycling with a newbie and over time turn them into a cyclist. Sometimes (like today) I spend more time talking people out of buying the wrong product than anything else. At every turn there are 100’s of possible options.

Take socks for example. I sell socks from Giordanna, Cannondale, Craft, De-feet, Sock guy, Desente, Gore, Pearlizumi, Fox, Shebeest, etc.. With so many options in something as simple as a sock there are way too many ways to buy the wrong thing. I get the chance to try each one and find the best way to get the job done. This is hopefully what we get done with every category we sell. (btw.. It is hard to beat the DeFeet Woolie-booiles)..

Like most independent shops we all beat the hell out of our bikes and gear. We actually turn away many products that we have decided that we wouldn’t use ourselves.

As for me (since you asked) I have worked at Halter’s since 1991. I purchased the shop in April 2006. I love what I do and I would encourage anyone who asked to either work for themselves or for a small business. There is nothing worse than being a faceless # in a sea of #’s. (unless you get paid enough). I also encourage everyone to shop locally and support your local economy in any way that you can.

I often wished that I had shopped more at my local hardware store. While they were much more expensive than Home Depot, they actually knew what they were doing and they had soul. All my local small hardware stores are now gone and what is left is mindless idiots in orange smocks. Sad..
 
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anrothar

entirely thrilled
based on my experiences working in a shop and being around the same shop for quite some time now, i'll share some observations/theories:

the internet took quite a while to really affect sales, and then only of high end goodies. i think this is because at first, internet shops were just another form of mailorder. the same amount of people were ordering, just from different locations. but eventually, more people became online savvy, and sites became more interactive and user friendly, with stuff like photos of every product, and links to all the relevant info one could need about said product. also, the parts themselves have become more user friendly and easy enough to install into a rideable condition.

but, high end nic-nacs have never been the staple of the independant bike shop. yes they sell them, happily, and in many cases are necessary to service them, but saleswise, shops in general make alot less loot off of selling the high end stuff. for most shops, the majority of revenue comes from repairs and sales of family/entry level bikes. yes there are high end shops out there that do very well for themselves, and that's friggen awesome for them.

what most consumers don't know though, is that if they approach the topic gingerly(ie: try not to insult the shop), many shops are willing to come close to or match the end price(part+shipping) and alot of mail-order stuff. what needs to be understood is that sometimes mail order companies offer stuff at or below cost in order to get you shopping there. i once ordered a set of magura hs-33's from pricepoint while i was working at rt 15 because they were below cost with shipping.

of course, the services of experienced and trained mechanics will always be in demand.
 

Shaggz

A strong 7
Hey J:

I didn't mean to put you on the defensive. Actually, several of us have been saying that it is good to have input on the boards from a shop owner, and we wished more would throw their hat in the ring like you are doing. I was also specific to note that this discussion was open to comment from anyone from either side of the counter, and that I didn't want it to digress into a typical MTBNJ free-for-all. You seem passionate about riding and the products you sell, and there was no undertone of skepticism about your motives for posting on this board.

As a business person, I live and die by the Pro-Forma, Balance Sheet and P & L statements. I am curious about business models, and how external variables (such as the web) effect them.

Perfect example, out of necessity, I had to purchase something from A lbs, and paid close to 25% more than I would have on line. Quite frankly, I was pissed. After I stewed for a while, I realized that I should be thankful that the shop was there, and that they have overhead expenses, and are not able to fully capitalize on the volume discounts that the www.megabikeshops... can. Plus, I started to think about MY lbs who said they do not even stock some of the higher end components (read, xtr, XO, etc.) because 1, they can't compete with the on-line prices and 2, model year changes effect pricing, but the acquisition of the inventory is the same (read, they may have to sell at a loss). Even more, I was jawing with them about the Garmin 305, and they said I could buy it on E-Bay for cheaper then they could get it.

Piermont Bikes, my old lbs, supplemented their in shop sales with a web presence, as well. They drop shipped from their distributor, and since they did not effectively touch the product, their costs were sometimes cheaper on the web then in the shop. My loyalty cost was even lower. From a business point of view, it seemed to be a win-win.

Lastly, my question about if you were an owner and for how long, was more to find out your opinion on how the whole e-commerce thing has changed the way you do business, both postively and negatively. 16 years in the business is a long time.

Steve
 
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jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
There is no feeling worse than seeing a customer lost because of pricing alone.

Many high end products (such as forks and wheels) have a very limited shelf life.

As Anrothar stated there are many instances where my distributors pricing may be higher than an online store. This is a painful experience since as a buyer I must sometimes avoid brands that may make me look foolish for trying to earn a living.

Many people think (or act like) LBS' are not for profit. We are not. We have bills to pay like everyone else.

If someone says to me "I would like to buy product X, can you match or come close to the web price" I will check and see if I can swing it. Most of the time I can, sometimes I can't.

If we can come close but not match the price we might do an install or equivalent service for free or little cost. Don't foget that we shop guys are human too. We never forget who our devoted customers are. This is true of most shops. Make freinds with shop guys, it will pay off. Promise.

The frustration retailers have is less with the consumer but more with the company that sold product X with the expectation that the retail price would be respected.

These web guys are cutthroat to say the least. I would bet that when they are working with such high volume and low margin there is little time or energy left for customer service.


I hope I didn't sound like I was being defensive. I am probably the silliest bikeshop owner that you will meet. People say all the time HE owns this place??
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
jdog said:
First off let me say that the reason that I have been active on this board is the database I have been working on. I have been looking for anything to take a break form this awful, tedious and painful work.
Well at worst, I guess we can consider ourselves at least slightly better than awful, tedious, and painful. Call me crazy but that's hardly a ringing endorsement of the board in general. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that wasn't your intention.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
jdog said:
If we can come close but not match the price we might do an install or equivalent service for free or little cost. Don't foget that we shop guys are human too. We never forget who our devoted customers are. This is true of most shops. Make freinds with shop guys, it will pay off. Promise.
This can be true, but also can be false. I'm right near High Gear as well as Liberty Cycles. Both of these shops deal in top dollar road bikes. So whenever I go in there looking to get anything remotely affordable, it's like I shit on their floor. High Gear is atrocious. If you're not ready to drop $100 per visit they want nothing to do with you. Liberty is a little better.

So I ended up driving nearly 30 minutes to get my new bike at Bike N Gear. Now granted I knew Gary a little beforehand, so that helped. But it's turned out to be totally worth it. I brought my bike in for basic maintenance, a bushing rebuild on the rear shock, bottom bracket repacking, and a bent rear derailler. When I picked up the bike I threw in a Specialized saddle that was on sale and enough cables & housing to replace everything on my old bike. He charged me $25. Impossible to beat that. I guarantee High Gear would have been in the $100+ range.
 

jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
The data base

normZurawski said:
Well at worst, I guess we can consider ourselves at least slightly better than awful, tedious, and painful. Call me crazy but that's hardly a ringing endorsement of the board in general. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that wasn't your intention.
No.. This board is mega cool. The other one had all kinds of neagative vibe.


I mean to say that the database work that I have been doing is killing me.


I keep running into people from this board and everyone has been great..

j
 

jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
Gary is a good guy..

normZurawski said:
This can be true, but also can be false. I'm right near High Gear as well as Liberty Cycles. Both of these shops deal in top dollar road bikes. So whenever I go in there looking to get anything remotely affordable, it's like I shit on their floor. High Gear is atrocious. If you're not ready to drop $100 per visit they want nothing to do with you. Liberty is a little better.

So I ended up driving nearly 30 minutes to get my new bike at Bike N Gear. Now granted I knew Gary a little beforehand, so that helped. But it's turned out to be totally worth it. I brought my bike in for basic maintenance, a bushing rebuild on the rear shock, bottom bracket repacking, and a bent rear derailler. When I picked up the bike I threw in a Specialized saddle that was on sale and enough cables & housing to replace everything on my old bike. He charged me $25. Impossible to beat that. I guarantee High Gear would have been in the $100+ range.
Keep in mind that you will almost always do better when you are a regular. You were also dealing with the owner who will treat you the best.
 

ArmyOfNone

Well-Known Member
I <3 my LBS!

Not sure if this fits in but...

When I was first lookin for a bike, I had been to a bunch of other shops. But none treated me so well as the guys at Halters.

J and Chris (he works there too), are the reason i am head over heels about the sport. They have taken the time to show me the ropes and even brought me out to meet some of you awsome guys.

I dont think that anyone here is questioning that J is a good guy. however i feel at the very least i can say a few good words for a guy whom i befriended and has been great to me.

J will always do whatever he can for you. Thanks!
 

heythorp

New Member
Shaggz said:
As a business person, I live and die by the Pro-Forma, Balance Sheet and P & L statements. I am curious about business models, and how external variables (such as the web) effect them.
Steve
hey steve here is some more info for ya


Want to Start a Bike Shop?
The National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) regularly receives requests from people interested in starting their own retail bicycle businesses. Our message can be broken into two parts: Good News and Bad News. We'll start with the "bad."

THE BAD NEWS

We’d be remiss if we didn’t try to scare you off from the difficult task of starting a retail bicycle business. So here goes: Retailing is difficult, and it’s getting tougher. If we told you that you’d go broke within the first three years, we’d be right 70% of the time. The United States is in the midst of a revolution in retailing, with mass merchants, mail order, chains, and other forms of selling having momentum, and small independent stores under tremendous pressure. Today’s consumer wants high quality, great personal service, and a super-low price. There isn’t much room for error, and the small store’s costs are usually higher than the big guy's. The competitive battle is won through excellence, and excellence is not always easy to achieve.

The number of independent bicycle dealers is dropping, from a high of about 8,000 in the early 1980s to about 5,000 in early 2004. The bicycle retail industry typically loses about 1,000 bicycle dealers each year, mostly start-ups, but gains that many back because of even more start-ups. However, the overall number of storefronts has been declining in the last few years. Many people have lost their lives’ savings in the retail bicycle business because they loved bikes, but didn’t have a similar zest for the art of retailing. Bike shops run by people who are only bicycle hobbyists, and not business people, typically find the going tough in today’s competitive market.

Add all that to the overall slim profitability in the bicycle industry, and you can really get depressed. NBDA studies show the typical bicycle dealer needs about a 36% profit margin to cover the costs of doing business and break even financially. Studies also show the average realized profit margin on bicycles to be around 36%, which is a break-even proposition devoid of profit. Fortunately accessories products generally carry a higher profit margin than bicycles. Still, the average bike dealer’s profit is less than 5% at year’s end -- about $25,000 for an average size store of $500,000 in annual sales.

If you’re still reading this, maybe you’re ready for...

THE GOOD NEWS

The level of innovation and diversity has never been higher in "dealer-quality" bicycle products. The number of entrepreneurial companies designing and manufacturing appealing products for the public is high, both in bicycles and accessories items. There isn’t any part on a bicycle which hasn’t been improved in the last five or so years. The bicycle is tied to health, vitality, fun and exercise. The bicycle is one of the least-expensive transportation choices available, as well as a wonderful tool for fitness and fun. The bicycle affects peoples’ lives in very positive ways, and its use contributes to the betterment of the environment.

Cycling participation is solid. There are approximately 45 million adult "cyclists" today, and cycling ranks fifth on the list of most popular outdoor recreational activities. The government has started to include bicycles in transportation planning. And for the retailer, the opportunity to successfully operate your own business in this very special field can be personally very satisfying.

SOME ADVICE

Look closely at yourself before taking on the difficult task of starting a bicycle business. Enthusiasm is important, but it’s not enough. Make sure you can muster excitement and creativity for merchandising, buying strategies, accounting, inventory control, advertising, employee relations, and sweeping the floors. You must want to serve people of all ages, types, colors and creeds. You’ll need some mechanical inclination and a strong constitution — not flinching from long hours, hard work and setbacks.

Use all the resources you can find to learn about small business basics. "Seat of the pants" business management principles can get you into a lot of trouble. Above all else, take the time to do your research and build a sound business plan (see article in the newsletter section of this web site). Planning, organizational skills, and high energy are prerequisites for success in the bicycle business.

The most successful dealers in the country stress personal service, and developing personal relationships with customers based on caring and service. Quality and personal attention are powerful ways to differentiate yourself from the various discounters and mail order outfits competing for the cycling dollar. The owner and key managers must truly want to help customers and the community, and be truly concerned about and involved with them.

This model of service affects almost every decision made by a retailer. Each time a customer steps into your store, he or she is judging the experience. You and your store are performing, and the showroom is your stage for showing product in interesting ways, where you interact with customers, and try to find out what they need and want that you can provide. The successful dealer pays very close attention to the quality of the customer’s "retail experience." Customers don’t like to be ignored, or taken for granted, or manipulated, or bored. Attention to detail, good selection, knowledge, a caring attitude, good product presentation — these are all keys to giving the customer that good experience. The store must be identified as "the brand" in the community -- not just the products they carry. Relying on the specific products you sell for your identity is extremely risky because others can also sell those specific products.

High quality retailing is not possible without being profitable, having the resources to meet customer expectations and wants. A common scenario of a struggling dealer is one who fails to maintain appropriate profit margins that allow financial viability, but instead uses unrealistic low prices across the board to attract customers. This can lead to what some refer to as the "death spiral." The retailer may appear busy and successful at first, but if revenue doesn't cover operating costs, failure is inevitable. The NBDA urges all dealers to keep records and know what their true cost of doing business is (rent, utilities, salaries, etc.) The numbers here are from the NBDA Cost of Doing Business Survey, reporting dealerships with expenses shown as a percentage of gross sales. It’s simple arithmetic — if your sales don’t cover your cost of goods plus your expenses, you’re losing money. Know what YOUR break-even point is. Be in control.

AVERAGE EXPENSES FOR SPECIALTY BICYCLE RETAILERS

(From NBDA Cost of Doing Business Survey,
expressed as a percentage of gross annual sales)

Payroll Expenses — 20.5%

Occupancy Expenses — 7.7%

Advertising/Promotion — 3.%

Auto and Delivery — 0.5%

Depreciation — 0.9%

Insurance — 0.8%

Licenses/Other Taxes — 0.5%

Professional Services — 0.5%

Office Supplies/Postage — 1.2%

Telephone — 0.6%

Travel/Entertainment — 0.4%

Other operating expenses— 1.3%

TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSES — 37.7%

NET INCOME BEFORE TAX — 4.2%

GROSS MARGIN ON BICYCLE SALES — 36%

GROSS MARGIN ON CLOTHING SALES — 43%

GROSS MARGIN OTHER EQUPT. — 48.1%

I should add this information comes from
http://nbda.com/index.cfm
 
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jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
ArmyOfNone said:
Not sure if this fits in but...

When I was first lookin for a bike, I had been to a bunch of other shops. But none treated me so well as the guys at Halters.

J and Chris (he works there too), are the reason i am head over heels about the sport. They have taken the time to show me the ropes and even brought me out to meet some of you awsome guys.

I dont think that anyone here is questioning that J is a good guy. however i feel at the very least i can say a few good words for a guy whom i befriended and has been great to me.

J will always do whatever he can for you. Thanks!

Awe Fred.. You almost made me cry.. almost.

Thanks

j
 

jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
heythorp said:
hey steve here is some more info for ya


Want to Start a Bike Shop?
The National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) regularly receives requests from people interested in starting their own retail bicycle businesses. Our message can be broken into two parts: Good News and Bad News. We'll start with the "bad."

THE BAD NEWS

We’d be remiss if we didn’t try to scare you off from the difficult task of starting a retail bicycle business. So here goes: Retailing is difficult, and it’s getting tougher. If we told you that you’d go broke within the first three years, we’d be right 70% of the time. The United States is in the midst of a revolution in retailing, with mass merchants, mail order, chains, and other forms of selling having momentum, and small independent stores under tremendous pressure. Today’s consumer wants high quality, great personal service, and a super-low price. There isn’t much room for error, and the small store’s costs are usually higher than the big guy's. The competitive battle is won through excellence, and excellence is not always easy to achieve.

The number of independent bicycle dealers is dropping, from a high of about 8,000 in the early 1980s to about 5,000 in early 2004. The bicycle retail industry typically loses about 1,000 bicycle dealers each year, mostly start-ups, but gains that many back because of even more start-ups. However, the overall number of storefronts has been declining in the last few years. Many people have lost their lives’ savings in the retail bicycle business because they loved bikes, but didn’t have a similar zest for the art of retailing. Bike shops run by people who are only bicycle hobbyists, and not business people, typically find the going tough in today’s competitive market.

Add all that to the overall slim profitability in the bicycle industry, and you can really get depressed. NBDA studies show the typical bicycle dealer needs about a 36% profit margin to cover the costs of doing business and break even financially. Studies also show the average realized profit margin on bicycles to be around 36%, which is a break-even proposition devoid of profit. Fortunately accessories products generally carry a higher profit margin than bicycles. Still, the average bike dealer’s profit is less than 5% at year’s end -- about $25,000 for an average size store of $500,000 in annual sales.

If you’re still reading this, maybe you’re ready for...

THE GOOD NEWS

The level of innovation and diversity has never been higher in "dealer-quality" bicycle products. The number of entrepreneurial companies designing and manufacturing appealing products for the public is high, both in bicycles and accessories items. There isn’t any part on a bicycle which hasn’t been improved in the last five or so years. The bicycle is tied to health, vitality, fun and exercise. The bicycle is one of the least-expensive transportation choices available, as well as a wonderful tool for fitness and fun. The bicycle affects peoples’ lives in very positive ways, and its use contributes to the betterment of the environment.

Cycling participation is solid. There are approximately 45 million adult "cyclists" today, and cycling ranks fifth on the list of most popular outdoor recreational activities. The government has started to include bicycles in transportation planning. And for the retailer, the opportunity to successfully operate your own business in this very special field can be personally very satisfying.

SOME ADVICE

Look closely at yourself before taking on the difficult task of starting a bicycle business. Enthusiasm is important, but it’s not enough. Make sure you can muster excitement and creativity for merchandising, buying strategies, accounting, inventory control, advertising, employee relations, and sweeping the floors. You must want to serve people of all ages, types, colors and creeds. You’ll need some mechanical inclination and a strong constitution — not flinching from long hours, hard work and setbacks.

Use all the resources you can find to learn about small business basics. "Seat of the pants" business management principles can get you into a lot of trouble. Above all else, take the time to do your research and build a sound business plan (see article in the newsletter section of this web site). Planning, organizational skills, and high energy are prerequisites for success in the bicycle business.

The most successful dealers in the country stress personal service, and developing personal relationships with customers based on caring and service. Quality and personal attention are powerful ways to differentiate yourself from the various discounters and mail order outfits competing for the cycling dollar. The owner and key managers must truly want to help customers and the community, and be truly concerned about and involved with them.

This model of service affects almost every decision made by a retailer. Each time a customer steps into your store, he or she is judging the experience. You and your store are performing, and the showroom is your stage for showing product in interesting ways, where you interact with customers, and try to find out what they need and want that you can provide. The successful dealer pays very close attention to the quality of the customer’s "retail experience." Customers don’t like to be ignored, or taken for granted, or manipulated, or bored. Attention to detail, good selection, knowledge, a caring attitude, good product presentation — these are all keys to giving the customer that good experience. The store must be identified as "the brand" in the community -- not just the products they carry. Relying on the specific products you sell for your identity is extremely risky because others can also sell those specific products.

High quality retailing is not possible without being profitable, having the resources to meet customer expectations and wants. A common scenario of a struggling dealer is one who fails to maintain appropriate profit margins that allow financial viability, but instead uses unrealistic low prices across the board to attract customers. This can lead to what some refer to as the "death spiral." The retailer may appear busy and successful at first, but if revenue doesn't cover operating costs, failure is inevitable. The NBDA urges all dealers to keep records and know what their true cost of doing business is (rent, utilities, salaries, etc.) The numbers here are from the NBDA Cost of Doing Business Survey, reporting dealerships with expenses shown as a percentage of gross sales. It’s simple arithmetic — if your sales don’t cover your cost of goods plus your expenses, you’re losing money. Know what YOUR break-even point is. Be in control.

AVERAGE EXPENSES FOR SPECIALTY BICYCLE RETAILERS

(From NBDA Cost of Doing Business Survey,
expressed as a percentage of gross annual sales)

Payroll Expenses — 20.5%

Occupancy Expenses — 7.7%

Advertising/Promotion — 3.%

Auto and Delivery — 0.5%

Depreciation — 0.9%

Insurance — 0.8%

Licenses/Other Taxes — 0.5%

Professional Services — 0.5%

Office Supplies/Postage — 1.2%

Telephone — 0.6%

Travel/Entertainment — 0.4%

Other operating expenses— 1.3%

TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSES — 37.7%

NET INCOME BEFORE TAX — 4.2%

GROSS MARGIN ON BICYCLE SALES — 36%

GROSS MARGIN ON CLOTHING SALES — 43%

GROSS MARGIN OTHER EQUPT. — 48.1%

I should add this information comes from
http://nbda.com/index.cfm

I have a very wealthy friend who owns a very large distribution company in Texas. When I told him that I was looking to buy the bike shop he told me not to. He said that I would never get rich.

He was right.

The bike business is a tough game.
No one plays fair.
The rules get laid out in the beginning and everyone breaks them.


I can't say enough that supporting a LBS and other small businesses will keep them around. Not shopping locally could devastate your local economy in the end.

A world of Walmart, Loews, Target, and Home depot could be all that is left.

That is a sad state.


October to Febuary are the toughest months for bike shops in NJ.

Go buy something. Your LBS won't forget who was there for them in the middle of the winter when the times were tough. You may also be able negotiate the best deals this time of year.
 

bonefishjake

Strong like bull, smart like tractor
Team MTBNJ Halter's
j, you inspired me to go buy some socks today...

seriously though, i try to do all the business i can with my LBS...even if i pay a little more. yeah, sometimes i buy stuff off the web, but i have a family to support too. but nine times outta ten i'm using them. the answer is simple: i know i simply will NOT get anywhere near the customer service from on-line_bike_megastore.com. a perfect example is my rims. i paid more locally, but it has been more than worth it with the free tunes and friendship i have with them. plus i know that if something were to go wrong i could actually talk to a person.

i read an article in new york magazine a few years ago that pretty much said exactly what heythorps did. my opnion is this: the really good bike shops will always be around. the profit centers may shift, but let's face it, we all want and need a good bike shop. the ones that have gone away are those that probably weren't all that good to begin with.

edit: nevermind, forgot the shop was closed today.
 
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Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
jdog said:
The bike business is a tough game.
No one plays fair.
The rules get laid out in the beginning and everyone breaks them.
Not to sound too harsh dude, but this is business. To think otherwise is to be naive. You have 2 people selling a pair of gloves, they both need to buy their son a GI Joe with the kung fu grip for Christmas. It's not that they don't care about you, or your family. But they can't care. That's business. And if everyone plays nice then someone will come along and undercut the nice players anyway. This isn't specific to bike shops. It is all business everywhere.

Jake is right, there will always be bike shops. There are 2 shops within 4 miles of my house. Given the low population density in this area, it may be overkill. Market dynamics will either dictate that they can both survive, or not. And if not then the customers from shop#1 go to shop#2, or vice versa. In the end there will be enough customes to support the number of bike shops needed to support that number of customers. It's business evolution.

I know you're at the heart of it but reality sucks sometimes. Best of luck man.
 
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Frank

Sasquatch
Great post Armyof none !!!!
Great job J-Dog...you got another person hooked on a great sport.
 
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Shaggz

A strong 7
heythorp - thanks for the information.

The stuff posted in this thread is pretty interesting, and it made me realize I was a bit myopic in my view of the lbs industry. I was only looking at it from the perspective of mtb dollars (sales, service, parts, etc), and neglected to consider the family/kid, roadie, etc. sectors.

more rhetoric: i'm sure it is different from shop-to-shop, but i'd be curious to see where the revenue comes from in terms of general categories. Another point of curiosity is consumer sensitivity to "margins", leap of faith, but like other industries, in terms of percentages, the more expensive items may not always have the biggest margins built into them, and the cheaper items may not have the lowest margins. probaly the reason why the salesman at the shoe store pushes the 12 pack of tube socks harder than the $60 pair of running shoes.
 

jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
gt2brew said:
Great post !!!!
Great job J-Dog...you got another person hooked on a great sport.

Hey Frank,

I have been wanting to connect with you for a bit. I have been riding the stuff at Alaire a bit and I really dig the work you guys have done.

Your work has not gone unnoticed.




Thanks

J
 

jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
normZurawski said:
Jake is right, there will always be bike shops. There are 2 shops within 4 miles of my house. Given the low population density in this area, it may be overkill.
I know you're at the heart of it but reality sucks sometimes. Best of luck man.
I bet 20 year ago folks thought that there would always be hardware stores.


Retail is tough but it is my life.

peas

j
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
jdog said:
I bet 20 year ago folks thought that there would always be hardware stores.
I'm not being a smart ass, but there are also 2 "old school" hardware stores within 6 miles of my house. One is a family run store in Berkley Heights and the other is a "chain" of 3 stores in the area. Perhaps I live on Mars.
 
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