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M8 M12 M15 deez nuts
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I came “this close” (imagine me showing you with my fingers as a gauge) to opening up a bike shop in a coastal vacationing town 150 miles north of San Jose, CA a couple years ago. Was jaded by what I was told by a friend and local shop owner (who closed his doors finally after three years of only bringing home Steve Jobs’ annual salary of $1). Cyclical “success”. You’ll hire help from Spring - Summer (laying them off at the end of Summer) and daily will be playing solitaire with your butthairs from November until May the next season. Oh, you want to service mountain bikes too??? Better have at least $100,000.00 on hand of parts, seeing how diverse (read: proprietary) components are from one manufacturer to the next *cough* Shimano *cough*.

It could have been a really positive experience… but I pussied out before things took root. Life is full of calculated risks but I instead opted for a predictable menial salary as a Silicon Valley techslave catering to mindless/clueless marketing people and slacktard engineers instead.
 

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Clyde on a mission!
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an elapsed time video of a (slow) day at the shop. greg the mechanic filmed, edited, scored, and "stars."
Looked like a slow day to me too, I counted like 20 bikes on the work stands, that isn't much for three mechanics.

Nice video though, just doesn't look as "frantic" as the description implies.. :)
 

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I came "this close" (imagine me showing you with my fingers as a gauge) to opening up a bike shop in a coastal vacationing town 150 miles north of San Jose, CA a couple years ago. Was jaded by what I was told by a friend and local shop owner (who closed his doors finally after three years of only bringing home Steve Jobs' annual salary of $1). Cyclical "success". You'll hire help from Spring - Summer (laying them off at the end of Summer) and daily will be playing solitaire with your butthairs from November until May the next season. Oh, you want to service mountain bikes too??? Better have at least $100,000.00 on hand of parts, seeing how diverse (read: proprietary) components are from one manufacturer to the next *cough* Shimano *cough*.

It could have been a really positive experience… but I pussied out before things took root. Life is full of calculated risks but I instead opted for a predictable menial salary as a Silicon Valley techslave catering to mindless/clueless marketing people and slacktard engineers instead.
As ridiculous as it may sound, the place where you would make your money is by being a 'specialist' in something that isn't off the rack, particularly if you follow trends. You have to stand out in some way, and spin it so your product is something people want even if they didn't already know they wanted it. Most bikers who walk into a bike shop already know they want a bike, or they already have one and know what they need for it. The trick is to get bikes in hands of people who DON'T know they want one yet. That is how big boxes sell so many.

If you build, paint, or modify custom frames and build them into ironic fixies for a town full of trust fund hipsters, for example, the sales of your 'bread and butter' products fund the stuff you really enjoy. Making such a product that 'stands out' and gets people in your store who otherwise would never have come in would make a business thrive.

Basically, if there is something kinda cool you know how to do special to bikes, something other people don't do or is hard to find someone who does it, use that as the main attraction to your shop. Get the modifications on as many bikes as you can, and tell people who are riding them just to tell everyone who asks where they got it done. Things like blinging out custom rims will get kids who like to show off lowriders or BMX bikes in your shop, willing to drop money on something purely aesthetic. That's nothing but money in your pocket :)

Finding things you can make in your shop that don't rely on keeping up with the latest and greatest will give you enough headroom to actually build what you want... even if what you want to build is latest and greatest.

You CAN make your dream bike shop work, if you approach it at the right angle :)
 

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Aloha, great video. I've been to that shop a number of years back. Awesome place, great people. Thanks for posting this up.
 

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M8 M12 M15 deez nuts
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8,585 Posts
The trick is to get bikes in hands of people who DON'T know they want one yet. That is how big boxes sell so many.

If you build, paint, or modify custom frames and build them into ironic fixies for a town full of trust fund hipsters, for example, the sales of your 'bread and butter' products fund the stuff you really enjoy.
OK Tony Robbins, back down to earth now:

Sort of a coastal hick town, where the only revenue would be Spring - Summer tourism… but LOTS-craploads-of customers (families with kids needing maintenance stuff mostly) during that time period, and almost no business the rest of the year. Bud Light drinkin' inbred ******* Jimbobs, Jethros, and Cletuses (year-round locals) and fixies is a combination that just doesn't sound right. :nono::rolleyes: I mean sure, they're unsure of their sexuality, but I don't think we want to force it on them or anything by making them wear those "phaggy" chick pants.
 
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