Another LBS closure…….

Home Forum Bike Forum Another LBS closure…….

Viewing 39 posts - 41 through 79 (of 79 total)
  • Another LBS closure…….
  • munrobiker
    Member

    I think the type of LBS that your average STW user likes – selling high end bikes and parts – is going to die out. Once you get to that stage you tend to know what you’re doing in terms of mechanicing, and you know exactly what you want.

    The LBSs that will thrive are ones like where I used to work – aimed at the beginners, commuter and occasional cyclist, who want a bike to get around on but aren’t interested in bikes as an object. They aren’t shops that are interesting for serious cyclists, there’s not lots of bling on show, but a good shop will nurture an interest in cycling in newcomers, guiding them up from a cheap bike to start to something halfway decent, whilst also selling £200 hybrids and fix commuter bikes whilst the rider is at work.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    I think the type of LBS that your average STW user likes – selling high end bikes and parts – is going to die out. Once you get to that stage you tend to know what you’re doing in terms of mechanicing, and you know exactly what you want.

    Mate of a mate has just opened one like that, he it doing an amazing trade. Simple reason is there are plenty of people who are cash rich and time poor. Yeah you can go to the garage and change something but you don’t get home till gone 6/7 each night, want to catch up on everything else not faff around with the bike. They are more than happy to get it back and know that it’s going to run perfectly Saturday morning

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    What’s an LBS, and how do you differentiate it from other retail outlets? Which models do people who write Some people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Long live the LBS support?

    Lots of crossover, and I reckon that once you discount CRC/Wiggle there’s not too much left that’s not an LBS.

    sillysilly
    Member

    Anyone noticing any correlation between quality of workshop / service and closures?

    SoHo bikes have coffee, tv’s with biking on, great workshop that always appears super busy + open till 8pm – looks like they are doing really well without having to compete on price.

    Only found them after my local went under – then remembered that the last time my local serviced for me they replaced a high end chainring with a low end they had in stock without asking, and spilled oil over my pads on a very average bleed.

    New place opened locally I just found that only do servicing from cheap rent / off main high street area – focussing on older / lower end kids / family bikes. You bring them parts or your internet bike in a box and they will fit / fix. Not for me but they also seem to be doing really well offering something different.

    Premier Icon doom_mountain
    Subscriber

    I went into a newly opened, very shiny lbs recently to talk to a mechanic about a fault with my bike. This was a Thursday, they said they wouldn’t have a mechanic all weekend.
    I’m lucky enough to have a few good shops nearby so went to another, they had five mechanic s in the open workshop area. Really helpful, managed to look at my bike later that day.
    Guess which shop I still use?

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Subscriber

    The workshop thing is odd. Take on expensive high-street retail space and use a big chunk of it to fix bikes in, and store those waiting to be worked on or collected. Bonus points for siting it nowhere near any parking and opening exactly the hours that most people work so it’s not convenient for them to quickly drop off or pick up.

    I’ve tried to use local bike shops more but if they’re not keeping stock of things I want to buy, and it’s less hassle to fix things myself, why do I even try?

    P-Jay
    Member

    Use it or lose it.

    v

    Adapt or Die

    It’s a very good argument, I sell Computer Equipment, if you think the Bike Trade is tough on Independents, try the Computer market! When was the last time you saw a small indie trying to sell IT equipment!?

    I’ve been doing it for 5 years now, my Boss 10 before that, his partner about 25 years all told. It used to be dead easy I’m told – you’d buy a motherboard, a case, some do-dars and a whatnot for £x, put an hour of labour into it and sell it for £x+30%, couldn’t make them quick enough, then Gateway, PC world turned up and were selling full PCs for less than we could buy the bits for, but lucky for us the trade had matured and we could buy full build PCs for a bit less again and could make a bit of money from it, then the world changed again e-commerce really kicked off and you won’t find a more savvy online shopper than people who are buying IT equipment.

    By the time I joined 5 years ago, we’d love given up competing on price – there is no point for us, just none – most of our clients (we’re strictly B2B, B2C is much, much harder and there’s just no market for us there) couldn’t give a rats arse about brands, fancy cases or how many USB3 ports it’s got – will it do the job? how much does it cost?

    Even couple of months I’ll get an angry e-mail / call from a long standing client – “OMG, YOU SO ME THIS DO-DAR FOR £500, I’VE JUST SEEN THE SAME ON ON EBUYER FOR £300 YOU ROBBING SO AND SO”, I have to admit, I’m not part of that rare breed of lunatics who does all the hard work and then says “oh, BTW, you can buy this cheaper elsewhere” but mostly, we absolutely HAVE to add value, there is zero point trying to box-shift in this industry, if you’re selling a robust product with almost perfect quality control these days there is little to be had from ‘brand value’ not yours anyway, people will buy HP, Dell, Lenovo etc etc, but they don’t care about retailers. So we’ll patch them, remove the bloatware, trasfer the data from the old unit, dispose of the old unit and so on and so on. We’re usually 20% more expensive than any box-shifter and I simply will not compete on price with them, but our clients value our skill and the lack of downtime etc, it’s the only way to do it these days.

    I don’t pretend to know the cycle market, but it seems it’s following a well trodden path that most industries went through years, even decades ago.

    If I was trying to run an LBS (apart from making a massive mess of things) I wouldn’t try to hard to serve the STWers of the world, it’s like us trying to serve the 10 year veteran PC gamers of the world – they know everything they want to know, or at least have formed such strong opinions that they won’t listen to anyone else, they don’t value what we add because they think it’s easy so they just want bits for low prices – yeah a few will buy from you to ‘do you a favour’ or ‘support you’ mostly they’ll do that for jobs that they don’t fancy doing themselves.

    The next tier down would be my top tier, the guys who are still buying complete bikes every other / third year, you still can compete on price because everything is online these days and a cheery outlook and the offer of a group ride will only get you so far – I’d look into offering a bit of ‘tailoring’ the 780mm bars and 30mm stem doesn’t suit everyone, no matter what we’re told, no on every likes the tyres the bikes come with and saddles are a minefield at best. I’m not saying it a no-brainer, far from, but if you could offer a bike at RRP, that comes with a hour of suspension set-up and maybe swap a few bits for low or zero cost for better suited ones at least you’re not trying to cut your throat to beat the net.

    nickfrog
    Member

    Competition and innovation can be a bitch. I don’t feel sorry for the LBS closing down.

    I am just hoping the ones closing down were the ones selling punters the wrong size bikes because they happened to have it in stock!

    Some have adapted and survived by offering genuine added value.

    fifeandy
    Member

    I wish I could explain what is happening right now in the bike industry

    Hyper inflation of prices over the last 3-4yrs + squeeze on consumers disposable income = less likely to be making purchases.

    As an example, when I was looking for my first proper MTB race bike in 2012, I picked up a BMC Teamelite dripping in top end kit discounted from £3kRRP. Roll the clock forward to 2017 and the equivalent bike in the range now has £3.3kRRP, and is wearing SLX, heavier wheels and a performance series fork.

    Add to that a new hub width or wheel size every year to make people unable to upgrade older kit, and unsure about how futureproof any new kit will be, and its a miracle anyone is buying anything.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Hyper inflation of prices over the last 3-4yrs + squeeze on consumers disposable income = less likely to be making purchases.

    Just picked up a stunning bargain of a bike brand new and a better price than I could have got 10 years ago…

    How much weaker is the pound now?

    fifeandy
    Member

    How much weaker is the pound now?

    That doesn’t help for sure, but there were significant price hikes before the brexit fiasco. But brexit related or not, much higher prices relative to spending power is going to explain why both LBS and online are both finding things hard.

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Subscriber

    That doesn’t help for sure, but there were significant price hikes before the brexit fiasco.

    Yes, there were significant price rises blamed on the economic crash. (About 8 years ago?) I bought a decently equipped Cannondale for a discounted price of £1250, down from £1850. A few months later the new model, with almost identical spec was almost £1000 more at around £2700. This happened across the board.

    P-Jay
    Member

    Yes, there were significant price rises blamed on the economic crash. (About 8 years ago?) I bought a decently equipped Cannondale for a discounted price of £1250, down from £1850. A few months later the new model, with almost identical spec was almost £1000 more at around £2700. This happened across the board.

    I remember that, early to mid-2008. I ordered a set of 888 WC TI forks for a Cove build from my LBS, £750, when they came to get them in a few weeks later they’d jumped to £1100, luckily I found some online for the old price, sorry LBS but £350!

    XT Cassettes jumped from £40ish to £75ish, not RRP that was CRC prices for 9sp – 11sp is cheaper now 9 years and a 20% currency devaluation later.

    Premier Icon monkeysfeet
    Subscriber

    Some bike shops will continue to thrive simply because of the location (Keswick MTB) is normally busy but in summer is packed with folk hiring bikes/repairs/test rides.
    We were in York last weekend and popped into My Bike Shed which is more of a cafe but offers repairs while you wait. It was packed to and the workshop seemed very busy. Again possibly because of location.

    Looks a bit more than a small LBS – more like someone who started with £2m and tried to make it into £1m.

    They own CMC (motorbike shop), which used to be there and is now at Clay Cross and are concentrating on that.

    I’m guessing it’s more a case of ‘can’t be arsed carrying on with a bit of a loss leader’ than a business going down the pan

    rone
    Member

    I’ve done my share of never buying the cheapest and going for the best quality, and supporting my LBS.

    But you know what – I feel I’ve been let down by some elements of what I support, my fav brand Turner no longer seem to want to support the UK, despite me owning loads of their bikes over the years and putting much business their way.

    I have issues with warranty on certain brands after shelling out lots (it’s always been sorted in the end – but often not befitting of high-end stuff like Enve, Chris King etc). Often the UK distributor may be difficult and not supporting the LBS etc.

    I don’t know, it’s a mess.

    A lot of it is perhaps due to expansion during the TDF couple of years and now the general contraction of the economy.

    I like to spread my cash around but certainly spend the most locally.

    rone
    Member

    They own CMC (motorbike shop), which used to be there and is now at Clay Cross and are concentrating on that.

    I’m guessing it’s more a case of ‘can’t be arsed carrying on with a bit of a loss leader’ than a business going down the pan

    Living close to Chesterfield and the Peak it does surprise me that the area is not well endowed with good bike shops. There’s bugger all in Bakewell for instance.

    silverpigeon
    Member

    Interesting thread. Here (Isle of Man) a new bike shop has just opened on a business park and another is moving to bigger premises in the town centre. Both have business models that lean towards commuters based on providing lockers/workshop facilities along with cafe or a coffee shop type environments. Big brand Bikes, clothes lights etc
    Seems a smart move to me.

    Premier Icon the-muffin-man
    Subscriber

    There’s bugger all in Bakewell for instance.

    There used to be one called Bespoked – didn’t last long.

    Bakewell is a ‘Sunday Drive’ and tyre-kickers town – lots of people walking around, but buying nothing apart from fish and chops. So most of the locals avoid it at weekends as it’s a pain to get into.

    rone
    Member

    So most of the locals avoid it at weekends as it’s a pain to get into

    .

    We just walk in. But outlaws do live there.

    greavo
    Member

    I live and work in North/East Manchester and have good and bad LBS close to me. Here are my reviews.

    I like Ride-On in Rawtenstall which is a bit of a trek out for me but it’s close enough to Lee Quarry. Craig, Jan and the chaps are really good guys and I get competitive prices from them whenever I buy. The workshop quality is always top notch. The shop has a good vibe and is welcoming. They’re moving to bigger premises next year so they’re obviously doing something right. If they can’t get anything immediately they also have good processes so you don’t have to chase. I like that a lot.

    Leisure Lakes Bury I’m ambivalent about – again it’s taken on more space in the last 6 months so it’s another store that’s doing something right. It does seem to be full retail prices. It doesn’t feel right bartering with a young kid behind the counter….. When I go in I generally hear that it’s a week before you could get your bike in to be looked at. Not a problem for me as I tend to do most myself and Ride-on the rest.

    Evans Deansgate – 2 mins from work. More a road bike / commuter shop, with the odd bit of MTB stuff. I buy small basics from them if they have the stock. Don’t think I would buy big from them.

    I don’t consider Halfords as a bike shop.

    Cookson’s I’m really really really disappointed with. They sold a 29er Medium Trek to a 5ft 1in lady who weighs less than the bike and can barely walk. It’s bl00dy obvious she struggles to walk too. For reference, she broke her back and was in traction for 9 months which curtailed her running career so cycling is her key exercise. They didn’t even do a basic fit for her to make they best of it. They didn’t even tell her she could move the seat forward. Basically, any idiot can see the bike is way to big for her. I know you have to make money but that bike was not right for her….. Ordering her a small couldn’t have been that hard. I’ve had to make the best of it for her, shortest possible stem, moving the seat forward etc etc.

    I support LBS 90% of the time with only the odd obscure web purchases. I really want to support them all but some don’t do themselves any favours in the long run.

    JonEdwards
    Member

    Specifically, I find CCC a bit weird. I live in south Sheffield, so not far away, but the only reason I know they exist is because my missus used to work at the hospital opposite. They seem to have very little on line prescence, yet when you visit there’s a MASSIVE showroom, that’s pretty well stocked. There’s a lot of cash tied up there. However it’s sufficiently far out of town its never going to get much passing trade – it’s very much “destination”. I actually stopped by a couple of days ago – had gone to JE James in C’field and it suddenly occurred to me it might be worth a look in CCC too. Th e 30% of everything sale kinda implied they weren’t going to be around too much longer.

    Generically, there’s a whole raft of reasons why LBSes are vanishing. The industry itself isn’t helping. Good bikes seem very expensive now and the proliferation of standards and wheelsizes means it’s difficult to take the Triggers Broom approach I’ve used for the last 20 years. So currently I’m on a 12 year old hardtail and a 4 year old full sus.

    I may well be about to shell out for a new hardtail. But as I know what I like, I want to be able to try bikes out properly first. I’ve been very intrigued by the Kona Honzo CF, but it seems the only way I could try one is by buying it from Evans, riding it up and down the street then getting a refund if I don’t like it. Sorry – not happening. Especially when the man from Cotic will bring a bike to my local trails, which I can then properly rag the arse out of offroad.

    Having done the triggers broom thing, my current bikes are pretty damn high end. To try and match that in a new build, I’m looking at north of £3k for a hardtail – and even that’s with (to my eyes)a compromised spec and getting a fair amount of stuff at mates rates. It’s just too much. Things like forks – RRP £900, on line at £600. If an LBS can’t match that saving, sorry £300 is too much cash to chuck away.

    I have a very good LBS in the form of 18Bikes, who I’d hate anything to happen to, but I rarely buy stuff from them – They major on high zoot custom builds and workshop skills. I can do everything bar rear shock service myself, inc wheel builds, and I can’t afford the kind of custom builds they do (and even if I could I’d rather source it all myself). Clothing I’d generally be happy to buy from them, but they don’t stock many of the brands and sizes that actually fit me. I can understand why as clothing stock is one of those things that it’s easy to end up with masses of cash tied up and then it being out of season and worthless.

    Premier Icon vincienup
    Subscriber

    I agree with a lot of what’s here.

    I value my local shops but sometimes I’ve seen a price that’s so much lower it would be embarrassing asking for a match. I do try to keep decent money through the local tills though.

    100% the supply chains are the problem here. The Internet firms are getting hold of OE stock that shouldn’t be up for resale and/or are getting volume discounts that the local shops just can’t.

    Local shops are a very important thing for the industry as a whole, both for the look/touch/see aspects but also for the service. It’s up to the importers and manufacturers to level the playing field – although that’s likely to hurt the consumer as the online bargains dry up.

    There’s no easy fix really, but it has to be an all-onboard solution rather than just letting the local shops go bust after years of scraping by. There may well be something in the opening hours point though. I can’t see many shops doing much trade 9-5 through the week, although again shifting that is going to hurt staff if they don’t like the idea of working 12-8 or whatever instead…

    cozz
    Member

    owned by CMC, they had the building empty after motorbike shop relocated, decided to do a 3year plan to see if a bicycle shop would be a good idea

    I guess it wasn’t, could have been propped up by motorbike money/profit during that time

    Its a shame, it was a great shop, but large area (business rates) and well staffed (wages)
    I don’t mind crap bike shops going under, but it was what a bike shop should be

    i was there at 9am this morn to get some bits and bobs

    I wish all the guys all the best,and hope their jobs are secure within the CMC business

    still loads of stock, ALL 30-40% off, my guess is it’ll be pretty empty after the weekend !!

    brocks
    Member

    This thread is probably the most interesting relevant one I have read so far on any forum , relative to topic especially one where we as a user group/customer could have a positive outcome to someone’s livelihood. A very thought provoking thread. My lbs closed four years ago which was a victim of lots of reasons mentioned here. Thankfully the young guy managed to find other employment also bike related to support his young family. Again this has been a good read.

    bluemoon1981
    Member

    i don’t understand how or why wiggle discount a brand new product they had the new ultegra group set at 33% cheaper then recommended rrp when it had just come out?!?
    Surely as a share holder you will look at that and say we could of sold it 10% of rrp still been cheaper and made more money?
    Plus in my mind these online shops should be charging more as shopping online seen as convenience, they usually hold wider range of stock , offer free returns etc

    Rorschach
    Member

    Economies of scale,aka Volume……Stack it high,sell it cheap.

    gowerboy
    Member

    It’s interesting that some brands won’t sell online…. I wonder how effective that is at keeping business local.

    I often buy from a LBS that’s not local to me as its in Dorest. But it’s still a LBS but it sells special stuff I can’t get locally. I feel ok about using it. But whilst I thought CRC was amazing when it started, I don’t use it now as it gets on my nerves.

    We had a brilliant LBS in Swansea that closed recently. That made me sad as they were great guys working hard to provide a personal service to their customers. The problem is that they sold brands like Genesis that were heavily discounted on line. In the end I think they decided to call it a day and peruse alternative careers because they were working really hard for the business just to survive rather than thrive. I miss it now – but we have other good shops that I use. We also have Tredz.

    andyrm
    Member

    i don’t understand how or why wiggle discount a brand new product they had the new ultegra group set at 33% cheaper then recommended rrp when it had just come out?!?
    Surely as a share holder you will look at that and say we could of sold it 10% of rrp still been cheaper and made more money?

    Data capture and lifetime consumer value.

    Sell for a price so low that nobody can compete, get ALL the customers in that segment. Profile their browsing on your site(s) and match against a wider data set of similar consumers, predict their spend patterns & behaviour and make back many, many times more than the lost margin on the initial sale.

    Premier Icon robertajobb
    Subscriber

    The biggest problem for many that i know is that the LBS is shut when i go to work, and it’s shut when i come home. So it’s neigh on impossible to go in and get what i need except on Saturdays… which is when i want to be out biking on the bike i fixed during the mid week evenings
    (I do all my own maintenance… because then i know it is right. And it’s my own fault if it’s not).

    newrobdob
    Member

    I’d like to say anyone who owns a bike shop needs to invest in customer service training. I’ve worked in a couple of big retail companies and had really good training and trained others. I’ve been to pretty much every single bike shop in West Yorks and a lot more in Yorkshire in general and the one thing that makes or breaks a shop is the level of service you give. Most people have no idea how much repeat trade (trade which you don’t have to advertise for or discount to get) can be had from good service and how much you lose with bad service.

    It constantly amazes me how badly I’ve been spoken to in bike shops who in the main tend to think they’ve done you a favour letting you in their shop.

    It’s got to a point where I think I could have a small business training it out to shops in exchange for bike bits….

    strike
    Member

    Echoing previous comments, this is a really interesting read. I think there’s a whole range of things at play, both macro and micro levels but certainly things are changing and will continue to do so.

    I try and support my LBS but sometimes it’s the case they simply can’t get stock or have issues getting first dibs on stock. 1st example – gave up on trying to order a SRAM bleeding edge adaptor yet German bikeshops had them in stock no-issues. 2nd example – ordered a ShockWiz – waited and waited whilst Zyro continually pushed back on delivery dates. Final straw was when the delivery date was pushed back by a month and on the same day Wiggle suddenly showed ‘good stock’ – a phonecall later to the Zyro rep by my (angry) LBS and my ShockWiz arrived the next day! Now you may argue the bigger orders get priority but it’s not helping the LBS to survive….

    nickfrog
    Member

    It constantly amazes me how badly I’ve been spoken to in bike shops who in the main tend to think they’ve done you a favour letting you in their shop.

    It’s got to a point where I think I could have a small business training it out to shops in exchange for bike bits….

    This is ever so true. They simply do not know what “customer experience” means nor the benefits that can be obtained from a small common sense training investment like convincing the staff to smile and say “hello, thank you, goodbye”, let alone develop any basic soft skill.

    Tbf, if the boss is grumpy, the staff are going to follow his lead.

    PeterPoddy
    Member

    I wouldn’t try to hard to serve the STWers of the world

    The successful bike shops don’t, and they don’t aim to. There’s no way you could survive on the sort of purchases mentioned in this thread. They also have fingers in other pies too. I’ve gone from one small independant bike shop to a large independant one, both of which seem to be doing solid business and are, to me, very similar indeed (apart from scale) in the way they operate.

    orangeboy
    Member

    Trying to find staff who work for little money ( often minimum wage ) and are happy and good at customer service seems to be a proper pain.

    My boss has often settled for trust worthy but with other flaws.

    Now I hate poor service / lack of simple politeness etc and am not trying to exscue many staff found in shops.

    Premier Icon marksnook
    Subscriber

    I admit I have it very good where i live. Popped into lbs for some bike wash, got chatting about heading out that night on a ride. Next thing I know I’m leaving with an exposure light to Demo!
    Clearly I ended up wanting one, lbs looked up internet price and knocked a further tenner off wiggle/crc price, without me asking them too. My local shop are friendly and helpful. If I can I will continue to support them where I can

    tjagain
    Member

    I am lucky in that in Edinburgh we have a good range of bike shops and competition seems to drive up standards. I have been told some utter nonsense in bike shops tho – like you cannot fit a star fangled nut without the right tools and the shop that rebuilt a shimano hub for me leave the cones 1/4 inch slack and losing some spacers in the process.

    Good customer service is worth having as it good mechanics. The problem is many of us don’t want to pay for it

    Premier Icon jonnyboi
    Subscriber

    The message we all get from the industry is that you’re a mug to pay RRP. So before you’ve even walked through the door of a LBS that expectation exists.

    My unscientific view is that prices have risen sharply for a good few years now but that has been mirrored by increased discounts, you just need to look at the PSA threads on here to see that.

    From a selfish point of view I don’t see how I should pay premium prices to support a shop that doesn’t even figure on the industry radar, and the big online retailers don’t see the LBS as competition, so I’m not undermining my own ability to get decent prices in the long term.

    What I’m seeing locally is the rise of the small workshop outfit that holds spares relevant to their field but doesn’t sell bikes, clothing etc. Or if they do it’s a small addition to their core business which is bike serving.

    I will add that in this case customer service is even more critical, I’ve used three locally. One damaged my bike in transit and lied about it. The other overcharged me after previously agreeing a price and the third took on a job that proved too difficult, yet to be fair did the leg work in finding an alternative and handle the parts transport and refitting. All three were ex LBS mechanics who had set up for themselves after their employer went under.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    The nice part was while trying to help a mate sort his HT out we needed to get a square taper BB out, I’m sure I used to own the tool but no idea where it is, LBS whipped it out 10mins to closing for a nominal fee. I guess you just have to pick them

Viewing 39 posts - 41 through 79 (of 79 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.