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post #16 of 137

Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down

"smiles" <csmillie@removethisboardnbike.com> wrote in message news:<%4SNb.2305$%86.696@bignews4.bellsouth.net>...
> "Billy Bigelow" <nomail@thank.you> wrote in message news:100f1vu46v66nec@corp.supernews.com...
> > > I was talking to Val Kleitz at the Bikesmith in Seattle today and he told me that he will have
> > > to go out of business in a couple of weeks.
> >
> > That would be a big loss. I hope he can figure out a way to keep the
> doors
> > open. I've take my bike business there in the past.
> >
>
> Welcome to the state of almost every bike shop in the nation ... we are being squeezed on both
> ends. Our entry level customer is going to WallyMart and getting such a POS that in most cases the
> never get into it. Our high end customers are going to the internet ... I just sold a XTR
> derailleur at cost to get the biz away from mail order. The sad thing

<snip>

The sad thing is that you caved on your price. Now you have a customer that thinks you are either
price gouging or pulling your prices out of your ... hat.

Next time try this: Price match, then add $17.50 and tell the customer that it's for shipping. After
you get the money, put the derailleur back on the shelf and tell him he can have it in 3 or 4 days.
When he starts to whine, tell him that for another $5.00 he can have it tomarrow. (If the customer
has not come across the counter at you) Go ahead and give him a derailleur. Pick the closest
derailluer to you, not the XTR he paid for. When the customer complains that it isn't the correct
derailluer, tell him that if he will pay the $17.50 (insured) to send it back to you, you will
gladly send him the correct deraileur. When the customer hands (or throws) the derailuer back to
you. Look at your monitor for a few moments, scroll a couple of pages, and tell him that it appears
that you are now curently out of stock on the requested item, but that you will gladly backorder one
for him. At this point (if the police haven't arrived) take the original XTR derraileur remove it
from its box, remove all installation instructions and materials, wrap it in the piece of plastic
wrap (left over from the peanut butter sandwich you had for lunch). and hand it to your customer.
Smil,e wish him a nice day, and remind him that "Price is not always the Point."

R
post #17 of 137

Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down

The problem with the LBS, atleast here in Canada is that they are screwed over by the US
distributors. They based their prices on a very weak Canadian dollar which means that items here are
massively overpriced compared to the USA.

The LBS philosophy is: "You aren't just paying for the bike, you're paying for service".

IMHO, this is a load of self serving crap. When a newbie's derailleur is out of adjustment, or they
can't get those reflectors off the LBS is happy to assist, what is that service worth $5 $10,
generally the out of adjustment aspect is due to cable stretch because its a new bike.

In these modern days, things tend to wear out or break, problems on bikes tend to be catastrophic or
turning an adjustment screw. The idea of paying a 30% premium on a $3000.00 bike for the privledge
of getting $20 worth of service is ridiculous.

My vision of the LBS would be this: Prices near competitive with mail order, bikes sold near cost,
however, you pay for the setup, and delivery of your bike. Like PDI and freight on cars. At the same
time, you could buy an extended warranty which would cover things like theft, accidents. The LBS
then could be making piles of dough by having exclusions, deductibles and the likes. Just imagine if
they could make continuous money on every bike they sell?

If the LBS business model doesn't work because of the internet, its time to change the model.

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"jeffbonny" <jeffbonny@REMCAPSshaw.ca> wrote in message
news:euog00p1scmqo00e8u40agkuus2hpd6pl7@4ax.com...
> On 16 Jan 2004 13:57:58 -0800, beelzebubba@hotmail.com (Jonesy) wrote:
>
> snip
> >Frankly, if I had ever gotten anything like good advice from the local bike shops, I would still
> >buy stuff from them. As it is, I refuse to buy so much as a patch kit from these folks.
>
> With you all the way man. Going into a shop knowing what I want and why I want it it's hard to
> take some kid that was swimming around in his ol' man's bag when I was hammering 3000km a month
> feed me a line of crap. Why should a shop like that get your money? They shouldn't.
>
> Upon further reflection it's probably places like you describe that are more responsible for
> putting the good ones outta business than are MO houses. The MOs may be a reflection of the
> problem as much as it's cause.
>
> I'm done. jb
>
>

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post #18 of 137

Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down

On Fri, 16 Jan 2004 20:17:01 +0000, "Just zis Guy, you know?"
<outlook.bugs@microsoft.com> wrote:

>What the hell, though, it's worth a try. It's not like the cheap bastards are customers now,
>is it? ;-)

If you weren't a Marketing major, you've missed your calling. That's the major in one sentence.
post #19 of 137

Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down

"smiles" <csmillie@removethisboardnbike.com> wrote in message
news:%4SNb.2305$%86.696@bignews4.bellsouth.net...
> "Billy Bigelow" <nomail@thank.you> wrote in message news:100f1vu46v66nec@corp.supernews.com...
> > > I was talking to Val Kleitz at the Bikesmith in Seattle today and he told me that he will have
> > > to go out of business in a couple of weeks.
> >
> > That would be a big loss. I hope he can figure out a way to keep the
> doors
> > open. I've take my bike business there in the past.
> >
>
> Welcome to the state of almost every bike shop in the nation ... we are being squeezed on both
> ends. Our entry level customer is going to
WallyMart
> and getting such a POS that in most cases the never get into it. Our high end customers are going
> to the internet ... I just sold a XTR derailleur
at
> cost to get the biz away from mail order. The sad thing with mail order is the customer service
> sucks and if there are problems you are hosed ... and in most cases you don't save much (if
> anything) ... it's just the
perception
> that MO has great prices since their Shimano stuff is half of the LBS ...

Monday, I walked into my nearest LBS who is a Specialized dealer in a posh neighborhood and ordered
an S-Works frame. This is the same LBS that I had previously bought an almost $4K mtn. bike from in
the past. Of course, they had no idea who I was and haven't for a long time. Of course, in three
months time they will no longer remember me. Of course they are d*ckheads unless you are getting
ready to plop down big money on a bike or frame. Of course their prices are much too high (often
over MSRP). The brush you paint with is too broad because some LBS really suck. I bet that it's poor
shops like these that do more damage to your industry than eBay and other Internet sources. People
don't want the hassle. BTW, this shop rakes in the dough.

Dave
post #20 of 137
Thread Starter 

Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down

"John Forrest Tomlinson" <usenetremove@jt10000.com> wrote in message
news:84314734.0401161220.7ef1e0ad@posting.google.com...

> ... it missed the most appropriate rec.bicycles.* group for it --
r.b.marketplace.
>

I'm not selling anything.
post #21 of 137
Thread Starter 

Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down

"John Forrest Tomlinson" <usenetremove@jt10000.com> wrote in message
news:84314734.0401161220.7ef1e0ad@posting.google.com...
> jeffbonny <jeffbonny@REMCAPSshaw.ca> wrote in message
> >
>
> Please see the FAQ for those groups before encouraging off-topic stuff.
>

FAQ you! :-)
post #22 of 137

Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down

"Reco Diver" <reco_diver@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:db285975.0401161747.61773dba@posting.google.com...
> "smiles" <csmillie@removethisboardnbike.com> wrote in message
news:<%4SNb.2305$%86.696@bignews4.bellsouth.net>...
> <snip>
>
> The sad thing is that you caved on your price. Now you have a customer that thinks you are either
> price gouging or pulling your prices out of your ... hat.

More than just one customer, now there's a thousand or more just from that post. Of course, those of
us here already have known this for years.

> Next time try this: Price match, then add $17.50 and tell the customer that it's for shipping.

That's all well and good, but when the MO places sell them for less than what you pay wholesale, you
can't even pricematch most of the time without selling at a dead loss.

>After you get the money, put the derailleur back on the shelf and tell him he can have it in 3
>or 4 days.

Total and utter crap. No one ever orders anything without knowing ahead of time if it's in stock,
how soon it takes them to ship (all the good MO shops ship same day or next day at the absolute
worst), and exactly how long it'll take to get to them. Everyone does this, and I know so from
selling on Ebay. Every single person wants to know when I'll ship, and how long it will take to get
there. It's almost always the very first question they ask. Most people gladly pay more for faster
shipping, too, probably like 60-75% I would guess. It's not like buying mail order is some new
concept. And, if it's going to take too long, then they bite the bullet and go buy from a shop. That
person knew exactly how much that deurailler cost, and how long it took to get it. That's probably
why he was in the shop at all to begin with.

>When he starts to whine, tell him that for another $5.00 he can have it tomarrow. (If the customer
>has not come across the counter at you) Go ahead and give him a derailleur. Pick the closest
>derailluer to you, not the XTR he paid for. When the customer complains that it isn't the correct
>derailluer,

No shop, not once, has *EVER* sent me the wrong part in the last 15 years, which is what your are
insinuating. Ever. *I* may have ordered the wrong part, but I always get exactly what I order.

> tell him that if he will pay the $17.50 (insured) to send it back to you, you will gladly send him
> the correct deraileur. When the customer hands (or throws) the derailuer back to

Again, that's crap. If the shop indeed makes a mistake and sends you the wrong part, or a part you
did not order, every single one of them will pay for return shipping. They, unlike you and your ilk,
concentrate on customer service and repeat business.

> you. Look at your monitor for a few moments, scroll a couple of pages, and tell him that it
> appears that you are now curently out of stock

That doesn't happen in real life. If the website says they're in stock when you order, then
they're in stock.

> on the requested item, but that you will gladly backorder one for him. At this point (if the
> police haven't arrived) take the original XTR derraileur remove it from its box, remove all
> installation instructions and materials, wrap it in the piece of plastic wrap (left over from the
> peanut butter sandwich you had for lunch). and hand it to your customer. Smil,e wish him a nice
> day, and remind him that "Price is not always the Point."

Well, you did make one good point; PricePoint does suck ass in that respect. BUT, in their
defense, if you ask them the condition and packaging of the part *before* you order, they will
gladly tell you on the phone or by email. I made that very mistake buying some Magura hydraulic
brakes and an SRAM shifter from them a few years ago that I did not know were takeoffs from a new
bike (there was nothing really wrong with them, they were virtually new, packed in a plastic bag
with a Xerox of the instructions.) And, guess what? When I called to complain, they offered to
take them back and refund my money, which they did without question. And then I'm sure they
promptly resold the parts I returned to them to someone else who didn't think to ask. They are the
only shop I know that does this.

Again, if this really is typical bike shop thinking, then why on earth should I pay a 40% premium or
more for my parts when this is what you guys think of me? You guys should be concentrating on
customer service and support, not thinking up ways to punish the poor customer for merely wanting to
pay less money for the exact same part.

This is the reason LBS's are closing up, and it really has nothing to do with price at all. Most
shops I've walked in aren't friendly places, and you usually get treated pretty poorly (if not
completely ignored) unless you're "in" with the shop guys. When you couple the ease of shopping on
the Internet with necessarily more expensive B&M pricing, sprinkle that with some arrogant (and
ignorant in a lot of cases) LBS salesmen, and you have a disaster waiting to happen. I'm surprised
so many stores have managed to remain in business to tell you the truth.
post #23 of 137

Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down

"JayofMontreal" <winickn0spam@vif.com> wrote in message
news:j00Ob.24502$1K1.358229@news20.bellglobal.com...

<snip>
>
> If the LBS business model doesn't work because of the internet, its time
to
> change the model.
>

That's a very astute statement. Bravo! I concur.
post #24 of 137

Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down

HardwareLust <noone@nowhere.com> wrote:
> "Reco Diver" <reco_diver@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:db285975.0401161747.61773dba@posting.google.com...
>> "smiles" <csmillie@removethisboardnbike.com> wrote in message
> news:<%4SNb.2305$%86.696@bignews4.bellsouth.net>...
>> <snip>
>>

> This is the reason LBS's are closing up, and it really has nothing to do with price at all. Most
> shops I've walked in aren't friendly places, and you usually get treated pretty poorly (if not
> completely ignored) unless you're "in" with the shop guys. When you couple the ease of shopping on
> the Internet with necessarily more expensive B&M pricing, sprinkle that with some arrogant (and
> ignorant in a lot of cases) LBS salesmen, and you have a disaster waiting to happen. I'm surprised
> so many stores have managed to remain in business to tell you the truth.

Lots o' truth in that statement. LBS are like people, they're all a little different, and some are
better than others (unless you're a liberal and then its some one else's fault). That said, bicycle
parts and service is all about business and economics, not nostalgia and warm feelings about some
mythical bike shop we call home. If service and advice were worth the price of the mark-up then
there wouldn't be such demand for cheap mail order parts. Yeah, the gray market thing is a problem,
but what's driving the train is competition for the scarce cycling dollar. This is econ 101 stuff.
Competition keeps prices low, encourages efficiencies, increases productivity, and benefits the
consumer. No one is forcing us to buy parts online, and millions wouldn't be bypassing the LBS if it
didn't make good economic sense. I utterly refuse to succumb to the notion that I should by from the
LBS because they need my support. Yeah they may want my support, but if I can't get value for money
than they don't deserve it. I probably buy 80% of my parts via mail order and do 90% of my own
wrench work. It just plain makes sense. There are times when the expertise, robust tool inventory,
and (unfortunately spotty) experience of the LBS make it worth the price. I don't criticise the LBS
for their prices, but its just plain irrational to pay more than I have to for what I need.

History is replete with examples of business models that become obsolete due to changes in
technology and the economy at large. For example: Home delivery of dairy products in the US used to
be the norm unitl the mid-20th century. The spread of the automobile, particularly the 2nd car for
mom to do the shopping, combined with the new "supermarket" business model conspired to end the
career of many a milkman. The supermarket cost less and was more efficient, even if it wasn't quite
as convenient. A few milkment still exist, but really only in a niche markets that provide a unique
or high end service, but it's no longer the norm. We can judge it, call it good or evil, lament the
demise of "the way it was", but either way it's reality. Notions of hope and good will won't stop
change. The cold hard laws of economics gave rise to newer and better ways to distribute goods. If I
could predict how the bicycle parts and service industry will transform in 10 years I'd start
investing now. Unfortunately, I have no idea what will shake out, but until them I'm going to shop
based on value -- be it the LBS or the internet -- not based on emotion or a one sided sense of
obligation. If an LBS can't cut it as a business, then it shouldn't operate as one. Period. Anything
else is just sweeping back the tide.

Tom (have read a bit on the whole supply-demand thing in my time)
post #25 of 137

Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down

On Fri, 16 Jan 2004 21:35:07 -0800, Fabrizio Mazzoleni wrote
(in message <70944b7b.0401162135.5eaa45db@posting.google.com>):

> Zoot Katz <zootkatz@operamail.com> wrote in message
> news:<400b724d.22937972@news.individual.net>...
>> Fri, 16 Jan 2004 20:47:16 GMT, <ougg00h3ir82qd1odkrnh3arvecbsavbuk@4ax.com>, jeffbonny
>> <jeffbonny@REMCAPSshaw.ca> wrote:
>>
>>> What mail order don't got:
>>
>> Soul.
>
> Anybody know why the fuss about this shop? I checked their website and this is their take of
> cycling:
>
> "practical form of transportation, whether this means commuting, cargo hauling, and delivery,
> touring, mobility in congested inner cities, or primary transport for those who cannot operate
> motor vehicles" Now that's not my kind of bike shop!

Did you read any further? It goes on to say:

".... We believe in bicycles as a passion - the passion of the racer, ekeing out every possible bit
of speed; the passion of the collector, restoring the bike he rode as a child forty years ago; the
passion of the homebuilding tinkerer, putting together a chopper or a recumbent such as no one has
ever seen. We believe in bicycles as a triumphant example of elegant engineering and efficiency. We
believe in bicycles as art. We believe in making bicycling possible for everyone who wants it."

What is your kind of bike shop?

> And the owner seems to have an attitude issue with the face hair and pony tail, flexing his
> biceps, and tattos.

Biceps flexing is a take on the Rosie the Riveter "Together we can do it" slogan, as seen at the top
of the page http://www.thebikesmith.com/about.htm.

I'm not even sure where you got the bit about tattoos.

Who's got the attitude issue, really?
post #26 of 137

Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down

Fabrizio Mazzoleni wrote:
>
> Anybody know why the fuss about this shop? I checked their website and this is their take of
> cycling:
>
> "practical form of transportation, whether this means commuting, cargo hauling, and delivery,
> touring, mobility in congested inner cities, or primary transport for those who cannot operate
> motor vehicles"
>
> Now that's not my kind of bike shop! And the owner seems to have an attitude issue with the face
> hair and pony tail, flexing his biceps, and tattos.

AM-Bers, meet Fabrizio.

Bill "he funny" S.
post #27 of 137

Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down

16 Jan 2004 21:35:07 -0800,
<70944b7b.0401162135.5eaa45db@posting.google.com>, chipomarc@yahoo.com
The Only (Fabrizio Mazzoleni) wrote:

>Anybody know why the fuss about this shop?

Fab, this is cross posted to a recumbent and a mountain bike group. Figure it out.
--
zk
post #28 of 137

Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down

On Fri, 16 Jan 2004 20:14:55 -0500, "JayofMontreal"
<winickn0spam@vif.com> wrote:

>The LBS philosophy is: "You aren't just paying for the bike, you're paying for service".

There are three bike shops near me. Prices are the same. The one I use is the one that not only says
the above but lives by it. Mail order is cheaper, but the hassle if something isn't quite right soon
eats into the savings. I usually buy model railway stuff by mail order because there is no decent
shop near me, but bike stuff mostly comes from Real Shops (TM).

Here's how I see it:

There is no way a .BAM can be as cheap as mail order: mail order is one warehouse guy and some high
racking, a shop needs a sales floor and has to be located in a more expensive part of town. Your
proposed mechanism for cost recovery - explicitly charging for labour which is currently concealed
in the cost of parts - won't work because a major component of the labour is people just sitting
there waiting for you to walk in off the street. This applies to all retail.

What you are paying for is not the %20 worth of service, but the fact that the bike is there, on the
wall, can be pulled down, touched, hefted, ridden, compared with another bike, and the clerk can
tell you that another guy your size tried this other bike and found it fitted better.

The mixed-mode shop, where a .BAM boosts its turnover by running mail-order, is a good model in some
ways because the sales people are still real bike shop people with some clue (even the spotty
teenager soon learns in a real bike shop). But you won't get one of these in every town, for obvious
reasons, so if your LBS is Harris or St John Street then you are one lucky person.

The .BAM is not going away because people like me like to touch stuff before we buy. It is
undermined by people going to the shop, consuming the service element (taking up hours of the sales
clerk's time) and then buying via the web. I hate that, so I don't do it. The sales clerks in my LBS
are very good and Know Stuff so taking that expertise and then buying from a shop which hasn't
invested in it seems not only rude but short-sighted.

Years ago the auto parts retail market in the UK was made up of little shops that had all sorts of
stuff and expertise. The big guys came along, set up out-of-town superstores which sold the big-
ticket items at a discount, and the little guys mostly went bust. So you could get an alternator for
5% less than it used to cost, but the upper snarkle bracket grobbly pin can only be obtained from
the main dealer, during working hours, at three times the price the little guy used to charge.

Now we are in a - what? - post-consolidation market. Little guys are setting up again to fill the
gaps which have become obvious. Now there is a firm called German & Swedish which sells all kind of
pattern parts for my Volvo at rational prices and is open retail hours. I use them.

Same with bike shops. There are only half the number in my town that there used to be. Two of these
are thriving due to loyal customers who they keep loyal by serving them well. In my LBS they
remember my name - I like that. I only go there maybe once a month, I've referred a couple of
people there for bikes, they give me a discount. I like that model and I don't think it's dying any
time soon.

Guy
===
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://chapmancentral.demon.co.uk
post #29 of 137

Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down

Zippy the Pinhead <the_corporate_hose@hotmail.com> writes:

> On Sat, 17 Jan 2004 06:02:07 GMT, Paul Hays <polhays@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>>What is your kind of bike shop?
>
> Latte', Lycra, and K-Y Jelly.
>
Just for interest since I haven't been to Marymoor for donkey's years, or ridden STP recently
either, is Stu Hennessey still running his shop out on the island please?
--
le Vent a Dos Davey Crockett Six-Day site: http://members.rogers.com/sixday/sixday.html
post #30 of 137

Re: The Bikesmith, Seattle, shutting down

On Sat, 17 Jan 2004 00:50:08 -0500, "tcmedara"
<tcmedara@REMOVEhotmail.com> wrote:

> I probably buy 80% of my parts via mail order and do 90% of my own wrench work.

That's fair.

The people that piss me off are the ones who buy the part online, try to install it, then walk the
bike into the shop and expect the crew to fix their stuff-up for free.
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