Wednesday, June 6, 2007

It's about the bike

Okay, so I've decided to open a bike shop. What do I want it to be? I think you first have to have a concept of what you want the bike shop to be like before you can even think about opening a shop. Location dictates style.

If I was opening a shop in the middle of a "master planned" community, the focus would need to be on family. Mike's Family Bike Shop - where we carry a complete range of bikes for you and your kids! Bleh. Nothing against that, but just the thought of having to carry such a large range of new complete bikes makes my bank account quiver. Leave that to the guys who are already good at doing that.

Instead, I'll be opening a bike shop in a rural area with 350 immediate local residents. I realize that the members of this community will have needs that similar to those of that master planned community, but on a much smaller scale. And I will want to serve those needs, but can do so very easily without tying up too many dollars in inventory.

I've thought about it a lot. I want my bike shop to be a destination. I want cyclists in the Bay Area to use Black Mountain Cycles as a destination point or a meeting point. I want riders to call each other and say, "Let's ride out to Black Mountain Cycles in Point Reyes." I want Black Mountain Cycles to be synonymous with Point Reyes Station. I want to have all the necessities that a cyclist on a 2 hour ride will need as well as the necessities that a cyclist touring from Canada to Mexico down Highway 1 will need. I want them to use the shop as a stop to rest up for the second half of their ride or to use the shop as the meeting point to begin their ride.

So, how do you make a shop interesting enough that these riders stop and check it out besides the fact that it's the only bike ship within about 20 miles? Maybe having a couch to hang out on and music playing good enough that you feel the need to wait for "just one more song" is enough. But what I hope really attracts attention are the bikes. Well, bikes and bike related memorabilia.

I've got my own personal collection of bikes, parts and various trinkets that used to be just a bunch of "junk" cluttering my garage and forcing the cars into the driveway before I thought about opening a bike shop. I'm also lucky enough to have some pretty incredible friends who want to donate (rather, put on display) something from their collection. And I didn't even have to ask! How cool is that? It's also justification to peruse the internet in the search for cool old bike stuff.

I hope my plan to develop the feel of the shop is enough to draw riders in to spend some time. The real goal will be to keep them coming back. After all, my personality can only go so far, I gotta have a backup.

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