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.

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