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No Fear
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it me or its really happening........???During the Covid years........

And in general not bike shops but all small businesses are getting wipped out

In order to wipe out the middle classes all over this planet and in all countries !!

And bring equality to the societies by making everybody equally poor.........

Is been nearly a year and a half that there is not much so sell in the shop and im forced to be more of a mechanic than a bike & pars seller ......

And it seems like they are making the parts & bikes and components in a way that they are not that much serviceable or repairable anymore.....And that shows or maybe predicts that being a mechanic maybe not an option in the future either

I think they want every body to be a worker or an employee or large businesses and not owning their own small business.
Whats your opinion on this ? i would like to see if im thinking right or not ?

And for people like me who doesnt like and would not fit in this kind of a system i think the time is comming. to go in the woods and live a simple natural life till i die ...........

Nose Hair Head Chin Smile
 

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Ride what you like!
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It is sad. I work for one of the largest retailers in the world. The pandemic has only enriched them even more, emboldened them to squeeze the worker ever harder. There is a backlash coming, millions of workers are simply walking away from their jobs.
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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It all depends. The bad ones in my area have struggled. The good ones have flourished. My LBS just had its best year since opening in 1957.

As @J.B. Weld mentioned, it seems that shops with strong service departments were more than able to overcome cash flow issues as as result of a lack of product supply. Also, strong shops didn’t seem to have the same level of product supply issues. But it was the service that really set the leaders apart from the shops that struggled.

COVID accelerated the inevitable in my area. Not sure that’s such a bad thing. I still have a half dozen or more massive brick and mortar retailers within 15 minutes of me, and another half dozen smaller shops. The ones that died probably should have in any event.

PS - I bought 3 kick a$$ bikes and a WAHOO KICKR bike from my LBS during COVID (all discounted), and my GF bought one as well (also discounted).
 

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I haven't shopped at Amazon for years. Seems like every other retailer caught up to them in prices years ago. It was worth it maybe 8+ years ago when Prime was $40 and everyone else charged for shipping or had high minimum orders. Even the bike stores around me are "close enough" where I just drive over and buy it there.

For name brand bike stuff - Worldwide and Jenson have a better selection and I get most stuff 1-2 days anyway. For offbrand wacky stuff (fun to try out occasionally or if you just need some bulk basics) Aliexpress is like half the price of Amazon, you just have to wait a few weeks. And if you need faster shipping eBay has most of the same stuff stateside for just a little more.

For groceries, electronics, household - Costco / Kroger, Home Depot

The only way Amazon is really worth it is if you live their weird techy lifestyle where you get all your groceries delivered, stream all your entertainment, ship everything to your house and buy a $$$$$ metric ton of consumer electronics every year. I hate packaging/returning stuff, no matter how easy they make it. It's just easier to buy the correct thing that fits at the store to me. I don't live in a rural area though so maybe that accounts for a lot.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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I live in an area that has long had a strong entrepreneurial streak. lots of small, independent businesses in lots of industries.

the bike shops have generally done quite well, as it's a mtb destination. I'm not aware of any bike shops that have gone under in the past couple years. we had some small businesses in other industries go under, but it seems like those were mostly poorly run and/or not nimble enough to adapt to the situation everyone found themselves in. the ones who adapted have mostly persisted, and some have even thrived. emergency assistance from the gov't has also helped out a fair number of businesses. I'm sure it made a difference between closing and staying open for some of them.

some of the businesses that closed were probably on their way to closing soon, anyway. I'm aware of some whose owners were older and looking for an exit strategy already - the pandemic just accelerated those plans by a few years.

we've had a number of new businesses open up during the pandemic, too. probably not what they wanted to do, as I'm sure starting said businesses had been in the works since before the pandemic.

I understand that it's not like that everywhere. different circumstances all over the world.

one thing that's been building stateside for awhile (and I think also in Europe) and has only seemed to get more attention recently in light of various shortages is "right to repair" stuff that you buy. so many products are effectively disposable or they require very expensive and proprietary tools/parts such that only the manufacturer or "authorized service centers" can make repairs. and those repairs are often so expensive that you're actively discouraged from making them. I have an old ipod that falls under this. the battery is old and doesn't hold a charge for very long. replacing it is very difficult and the places I've contacted about repairs really don't want to do it. either they tell me it can't be done, or they quote an astronomical price for it.
 

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I think there is a place for small shops and mine are doing great.
My feeling is lower rent locations in the future along with more service and more used complete bikes
Plus some non bike related accessories like gun and fishing shops do
Some shops will do good with small cafe or coffee / bakery items

big take over of bike shops by trek and specialized will work; but will be boring and open opportunities for smart flexible independents
 

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I will just throw out there that not everything is a conspiracy. It would be quite an amazing thing if fortune 500 companies, their international counterparts, and governments were all conspiring to restrain supply to raise prices. Given the number of players that would have to participate, the likelihood that they would be able to so without verifiable proof being leaked in short order is virtually zero. Even within industries where there is consolidation and the opportunity for oligopolies to operate, they rarely last long, as there is a financial incentive for the players to cheat (look at OPEC and its long term success, or rather lack thereof, in oil price maintenance).

While none of us likes inflation, it is natural product of limited supply chains, loose monetary supply, and increasing wages. Manufactures fearing sitting on inventory when the lockdowns started, slowed or even stopped production. Rather than the slowdown in demand occurring, governments engaged in "stimulus" spending, which resulted increased demand for virtually all consumer goods, at a time when capacity was (and is) limited by covid restrictions and outbreaks. The result is how the free market operates, when demand is high and supply is limited, prices increase.
 

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It is sad. I work for one of the largest retailers in the world. The pandemic has only enriched them even more, emboldened them to squeeze the worker ever harder. There is a backlash coming, millions of workers are simply walking away from their jobs.
Fortunately they are not all like that. I work for a Fortune "100 Best Companies to Work For." For us it's been different. We've been busy and worked a lot of overtime, but we got lots of bonuses over the last year. I was just out for 12 weeks with a MTB shoulder injury, the (company paid for) short term disability kept the checks coming in. While I was out we got a 20% market adjustment raise. For the first time in my life employees have some leverage, smart employers are recognizing that and are making adjustments.
 

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I hadn’t been downtown (skyscraper district) since covid started. Almost all the ground level shops are boarded up. Maybe 70% on some blocks. It was a bloodbath for those businesses.
Many companies are forsaking their brick and mortar and going remote or mostly remote. It’s going to be a bad time for commercial real estate, particularly the cube office floors.
 

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Bike shops are doing well, lots of free money and people need things to do during these times and bicycling is big. Was in a bike store the other day, bikes were gone, sold out but the supply chain is struggling.

Online retailers are doing well, Amazon is doing well, Walmart. I was in Walmart the other day, I won't be going back even though their prices are good. I might try an off time but theres to many dumb dumbs there blocking the aisles. I avoided Walmart and it just reinforced not shopping in store. I might try delivery if their shipping prices are well but I dont want more people touching what I buy.

Unlike food delivery, like Skip the Dishes, I have seen countless drivers for those and they look shady a.f.
They have to make rent, pay bills so they will be the first to work sick. Gig working like that theres no accountability. With stores, at least they interact so theres some accountability.

As for DIY checkout I am 50/50, on one hand I dislike bagging and scanning and dealing with the machines. Better to go with a cashier doing the work, but at Walmart its crazy. They stock shelves during the day, they probably cant get no one to stock the shelves when store is closed. The overhead PA announcements are worse then the train drivers, can barely understand them most of the time.
 

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I will just throw out there that not everything is a conspiracy. It would be quite an amazing thing if fortune 500 companies, their international counterparts, and governments were all conspiring to restrain supply to raise prices. Given the number of players that would have to participate, the likelihood that they would be able to so without verifiable proof being leaked in short order is virtually zero. Even within industries where there is consolidation and the opportunity for oligopolies to operate, they rarely last long, as there is a financial incentive for the players to cheat (look at OPEC and its long term success, or rather lack thereof, in oil price maintenance).

While none of us likes inflation, it is natural product of limited supply chains, loose monetary supply, and increasing wages. Manufactures fearing sitting on inventory when the lockdowns started, slowed or even stopped production. Rather than the slowdown in demand occurring, governments engaged in "stimulus" spending, which resulted increased demand for virtually all consumer goods, at a time when capacity was (and is) limited by covid restrictions and outbreaks. The result is how the free market operates, when demand is high and supply is limited, prices increase.
Cary,

Very well said.

I’m going to use some of your verbiage in my posts to other online venues.
 

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Thicc Member
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While none of us likes inflation, it is natural product of limited supply chains, loose monetary supply, and increasing wages.
Yes, that loose money supply, that'll get ya. Don't you just hate it when the money supply gets a little loose, through no fault of anyone's at all, and for absolutely no reason whatsoever? It's a real shame when that so happens to just randomly happen.
 

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My main local shop has exploded! They had foresight and saw this coming and ordered bikes from their suppliers by the containerload. They are not small as far as shops are considered, but I still get greeted by name when I walk in. They even picked up Pivot and Intense during the pandemic. Every time i have gone in in the last two years, they have broken another sales record. Service dept is great and they price match online shops. Long time customers even get a 10% discount. Really not much reason to ever shop online for me. For that matter all of our local shops are good. We even have people from NWA come over to buy bikes.
 

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All they want to do is sell you a bike, clothing and accessories. My last 4 bikes I have purchased from 3 different stores were all set up by drunk monkeys.

If you are even slightly mechanical and have access to the internet there isn't anything you cant do that a LBS can.

The hardest thing is making sure you get the right parts and making sure you have accurate torque specs...... after that is simple
 

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My concern isn't losing small businesses. They come and go and ebb and flow, just like everything else.

My concern is whether or not small business are actually going to come back, and I'm thinking many are going to opt against it. Sure, covid was a problem, but there are bigger things brewing. For the first time in my life, I wouldn't want to start a small business in the US.

Take this scenario, a couple opens an ice cream shop. They figure out their margins to get by while paying young workers minimum wage, mostly as a part-time first job for $8/hr. They are getting by, making enough to survive. Next legislative body comes in and decides that Highschool Henry should now get a 'living wage' for scooping ice cream after school, and overnight the minimum wage doubles. Now your margins are shot and you have to raise prices, and no one wants to pay $9 for an ice cream cone and business tanks. Next year they pass paid family leave and you now need to pay Sorority Suzie after she gives birth for three months wages while she isn't actually working. Plus new regs, restrictions, and requirements keep coming through that requires an employee just to keep up. Now your cones are $12 and no one is buying them. You have to shutter the place, it's done.

All of this is relatively recent stuff and there are a lot more incentive NOT to open a business these days, things are becoming less friendly to entrepreneurs all the time. There is too much unpredictability and too much red tape, and I know I wouldn't open a business right now, especially in big population centers of the country where all these things are happening. THAT is what I'm worried about.
 

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Myth. While there are certainly some very specialized tools you need do some things, 90% can be done with regular old shop tools. heck - and of that 90% - 75% can be done with Allen bits and a torque wrench. 😂

park tools while a fantastic company has convinced millions, if it doesn’t have a blue handle it won’t work on a bike.

now if you’re into wheel building that’s a little different and would “require” a truing stand and some other specialized tools. but other than that it’s a removal socket here or there.

100% agree it’s not for everyone. But if you ride you SHOULD have some basic skills.
 

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In our area, some businesses have folded while others open up. I've not heard that they are closing at unprecedented rates. Of course, the hospitality industry took a beating but that's everywhere.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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I hadn’t been downtown (skyscraper district) since covid started. Almost all the ground level shops are boarded up. Maybe 70% on some blocks. It was a bloodbath for those businesses.
Many companies are forsaking their brick and mortar and going remote or mostly remote. It’s going to be a bad time for commercial real estate, particularly the cube office floors.
That has happened some places and not others. Definitely not where I live. A few closed, but no business slots have remained boarded up for extended periods. For those that closed permanently, something new has opened in their place for the most part.

And this is in spite of pretty strict local COVID protocols. The city and county responded by giving those downtown businesses extra accommodations. Parking garages downtown have been free for more or less the past year and a half to encourage people to come downtown. Only just now are they starting to charge for them again. The city has in some places, allowed businesses to spread out onto the sidewalks and on-street parking to be able to offer products or service. This has allowed restaurants who previously did not have outdoor seating to offer such, and serve customers rather than fall entirely onto takeout and delivery. It has allowed retail businesses to spread their merchandise out and be able to allow customers to distance themselves better.

The economy where I live is doing quite well overall. Among the best/fastest recovery in the state. Biggest challenge for local businesses now is the lack of people looking for work, so everybody is short-staffed. The number of people flying in and out of our little regional airport recovered MUCH faster than expected, and rather than delaying the airport terminal expansion due to covid slowdowns, they're moving forward with it.
 
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