Thursday, May 31, 2007

I can sell in the state of California!

Just got confirmation on getting a reseller's license so I can start selling products in the state of California. That also means I will need to also start paying taxes to the state of California.

One more step to getting all the ducks in a row so to speak. There is so much more I have to do to start getting accounts with folks that I can't do until I am physically moved to Point Reyes. Phone number, business bank account and liability insurance are a couple of minor things I need to get. I've got the insurance lined up and as soon as I fire off a check, it's in effect.

I've got my first order penned out that will cover the necessities of shop operation and a few tools I'm lacking. Can't get the order going, though until I get an account. Can't get an account until I have insurance. Vicious circle, catch-22. Soon, though. The king pin is just waiting to be pulled to get the ball really rolling...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

It's a monster...

It’s a monster chore to establish a business. It’s more of a chore to establish a business in a location that is 500 miles away. It’s even more of a chore to do this when you’ve never run a business yourself and compound this with the fact that I am doing this myself with no “partner” to bounce ideas off. Collaboration is an incredible process that allows a group to feed off of each other, making the end result better.

Technically, I have no partners, but what I do have is an incredibly supportive wife and son and a very supportive group of friends who are all very instrumental in making this happen. I’ve been lucky in this aspect because I don’t think I could have done it on my own. Thank you!

There seems to be a point where you think “okay, it’s done. I have the space, I have the permits, I have insurance…” Then the realization hits that you don’t really have anything but an empty shell of a building and the authorization to sell taxable items and service in the county of Marin. Next comes the even more arduous chore of creating the bike shop atmosphere. Arduous, yes, but the end result will be so worth while.

Building a workbench and mechanic work station is first. I think this area should be the focal point in a bike shop. It’s where everything happens. It’s where the bikes get built. The two shops I’ve worked at both had mechanic’s areas that were out in the open and accessible to all customers. The first shop I worked at, Pacific Coast Cycles, customers had to go through the mechanic’s area to get into the shop from the main parking lot.

It’s hard to explain why I like having the mechanic’s area so accessible to the customers, but I think it stems from the concept that a bicycle mechanic is not a kid stuck in the back room assembling bikes for $8 per bike or a room filled with ogres who have no social skills and need to be hidden from public view. The bicycle mechanic is the “do-all” in any bike shop. They know the bikes and parts intimately. They ride to work. They ride after work. They ride at work on test rides to make sure their work is perfect. They can sell because they know the parts. Because they aren’t usually typical salesmen, they can sell with a more honest approach to the parts and bikes because they have an intimate knowledge of the part beyond what it looks like on a bike or in a box. Suffice it to say, the mechanics are what make the bike shop, in my opinion.

This is likely where the workbench will be located at Black Mountain Cycles. There are a couple of skylights above providing nice natural light. Next step, creating a rack fixture to display bikes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Let's back up about 9 months

In August, 2006, I was faced with a decision. I was leaving my parents house north-east of Sacramento to drive up to Downieville where I had registered to race. It was about a week into two weeks of record high temperatures (13 days of 100+ degree highs). My wife and I had just returned from Lake Tahoe where we had ridden mountain bikes for a couple of days and had taken the scenic route through Downieville so I knew it was baking up there. I had just loaded up with groceries and was at the driveway of the grocery store where I was trying to make up my mind. "Do I turn left and race Downieville in this atrocious heat and dust or do I turn right and go visit friends in Marin County?"

Later in the day, I ended up at Steve Potts' house in
Inverness, CA where the weather was beautiful. After spending the night at Steve's house, he promptly kidnapped me and from there I ended up at Tom Ritchey's ranch about an hour and a half north. During my time there, Steve talked about how he'd like to see a bike shop reestablished in Point Reyes Station. My immediate thought was "I want to work in that shop." That thought eventually, through the course of several months and several visits back to Point Reyes, became "I want to own a shop in Point Reyes."

After many visits to
Point Reyes to secure lodging and a retail space, we are making the plunge and moving away from the tile, stucco, strip mall hell that north San Diego County has become. More fill in the blanks to follow. For now the photo below is the building that will house Black Mountain Cycles of Point Reyes Station, CA.