New Shop Idea - looking for feedback

Questions about bike hire abroad and everything light bike related. No off-topic chat please

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by Leviathan

Its retail. 100% about location. A number of these have launched in Palma de Mallorca, including Waffa. Many started by ex-pros. (Another brand starting with C coming soon). All about footfall. "The wrong kind of coffee" probably will scare off karsten but noone else. There are a HUGE number of high end cycling brands only too happy to get real retail exposure, so its about getting the right location for the right rental price, with sufficient space to allow bike storage, frankly the business then becomes about footfall. Its pretty hard to mess up a Panini and a flat white.

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by antonioiglesius

I was listening to how a now world-class clothing brand owner started her business. She had a couple of ideas, sketched her designs on pieces of paper, then rented a wall of a booth at a tradeshow for a couple hundred bucks and waited to see what happens. She didn't have any actual samples, just the papers with the designs on them. She had a few orders, which made her think maybe she should continue, and at the next tradeshow she had an entire booth. And her business took off from there.

I'm wondering if there's some way to test the waters first, around the intended location. An admittedly very (very very very) stupid thought would be to approach an existing bike or cafe store, and ask if you can sell cafe/bike services/products. For instance you set up a small booth just outside a cafe, and offer free bike repair services for a month. Then you ask any potential customers how they feel about it, and for other types of feedback.

Yes again that's not that great of an idea, I'm just trying to think of a low-cost way to know whether the cafe/bike shop business will work at a location prior to heavier investment.

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by tymon_tm

Rich_W wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:02 pm

Article on Yahoo finance yesterday.
I don't think traditional bike shops are facing getting kicked from the market, what I do think and observe though is higher end of marekt requires this something lil bit more. when I was a kid and saw Pretty Woman I was like "wtf drinking champagne buying clothes" but now we all witness a growing demand for extra services surrounding the core sales. so if you get a fancy car, you'll most likely be invited to some event, a track day perhaps. if you go to 5 star hotel staff will attend to you like you're some missing faberge egg.

in case of selling sport goodies the high end market is no longer just a top model from a long range of bikes. first of all it's not twice the price of medium level bike (like it was not so long ago) but 5 to 10 times even. second, it needs special attention; give the Madone to some regular lbs mechanic to assembly and he's gonna go nuts. and so will you seeing how he tightens the stem screws without so much as a torque wrench (yup, that's still the level of initiation in most services). and even if they do things properly I bet you'll feel cheated getting same added value as the guy next to you who got himself a 1k bike - which is zero. so hell yeah, the more money you aim to spend the more fuss you intend to create around you and it needs to be met. more so, you are gonna feel pleased if there's some sort of initiative towards you, something you get without asking. I believe a cafe/lbs combo is a good one, because it lets the demanding-type-consumer's steam off while sipping whatever fancy name that brownish liquid has, and it's scientifically proven if something nice happens to you, you'll most likely want to repay in kind - like buy more stuff, or at least be less of a prick (which we all know demanding clients - like us - can be).

long post short, IMHO there's gonna be more and more features separating those low end, "regular" bike shops, from high end joints. not just the products they offer, but the whole philosophy of doing business. it's something to embrace and aiming at this higher end, one can't think about the lower one, because there won't be as many parallels as the name "bike shop" suggests.
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by sawyer

tymon tim - good post. I agree with you. Client base for road cycling has grown and become more affluent over the past 10 years, and these guys want their lives made easier first and foremost, and their balls / whatever tickled when it suits
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by wingguy

sawyer wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:07 pm
tymon tim - good post. I agree with you. Client base for road cycling has grown and become more affluent over the past 10 years, and these guys want their lives made easier first and foremost, and their balls / whatever tickled when it suits
That's definitely the main thing surrounding the 'Bike Boutique' side of the business. High end stock won't do it on its own - you absolutely, positively have to know your shit and be a person / have staff that customers really like to deal with. You won't sell much high end stuff just because you're in a rich area (I've seen more than enough people haggle the crap out of a Giant Defy 105 then go and load it into their new model Range Rover or BMW X5 M-Sport), you need to be bloody good at high end bike service.

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by ggman

Rockets & Rascals in Plymouth, UK has a set up similar to what you are thinking of.

Outdoor seating, cafe when you walk in with a walkway through to a bike shop selling mainly clothing and a workshop at the back. They put on loads of cycling events and fondo's as well as other things like SUP and running events
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by jasonh

Sounds like a fun and interesting idea and hopefully a successful venture. I think it will be challenging to provide a value proposition with consistently high quality for everything from baked goods to sandwiches to hot and cold beverages while simultaneously maintaining excellent service, convenience and developing a “new community.
Now that I’m in the southeast I hope it’s near me

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by Snabb

In Stockholm Sweden we have two good places.

One is a cafè that has a bike theme and have morning rides starting from the cafè with breakfast specials when you get back. Early opening hours a couple of days a week for cyclists. They have different things now and then, some trainer competions and invite some Pro to talk sometimes. They show the big races on TV and have specials with food and drinks. Non-cyclist go there to take a coffee or lunch. It is in a "hipster" area though.

The other one is called Bianchi cafè and cycles and is a bike shop and cafè. It is located in an area with many Lawyers and big companies. The shop is in the back and sells bikes and accessories. The Cafè is in italian style with lunches and regular people go there because the food is good and is has a nice atmosphere. I like it and have watched some Giro stages there.

Both places attracts cyclists aswell as non-cyclists. Which I think is a key to success.
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by sawyer

wingguy wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:51 pm
(I've seen more than enough people haggle the crap out of a Giant Defy 105 then go and load it into their new model Range Rover or BMW X5 M-Sport)
I liked this - very true. A reminder that a lot of your potential customer base will have money but will be at a stage where they won't regard it as normal or reasonable to spend huge sums on bikes
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by mike

Great idea Rich_W. Make sure you have enough for retirement though. We had a beautiful shop in Georgetown with coffee shop near the water. However, didn't last more than a few years. Business was tough. They sold Independent Fabrication, Specialized, Seven.

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by spookyload

You mentioned brewery. I would scrap that and selling alcohol at all for that matter. That is just another expensive license to absorb prior to opening, and opens you up to a shitload of liability. From employees selling to minors, to someone getting hurt on the way home after having a few at your place.

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by optionclick

Take a look at Maison Du Velo - they have a couple of shop/cafes here in SE UK

Sounds quite close to what you're describing.
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by tymon_tm

you can obtain alcohol license but sell it only during specific events. it's maybe a bit different in US regarding liability (haven't heard of anyone selling alco to be found responsible for his customers' excesses) but still you can control who you sell and how much you sell to that way. for instance, my friend who has a gallery/workshop/cafe joint organizes cyclical events during which he sells wine or invites craft beer producers, and yes, he had to get a license for this. normally you can't get a beer there, and it serves it's purpose IMHO, because you're not regarded as a 'beer joint' but still when situation requires, you're not left empty-handed so to speak.
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by mrfish

V good answer from antonioiglesius. Really testing your concept with minimal commitment of capital is a good idea, then turning the ideas above into numbers and running the business by the numbers is key. To address this:
- write down the 10-odd key questions which you need to answer to decide whether to start this business. Turn this into a detailed quantitative business plan. Max 10 pages in ppt with one page of xls is sufficient, backed by reams of research. Note this is harder to write than spewing out 100 pages of garbage ppt.
- Analyse and copy existing cafe setups that work. You need to do more that copy the layout, sales mix and brand. The P&L, Cashflow and balance sheet are key. Knowing how they make money and how they spend money is key to turning a profit. What are main fixed and variable costs? Key will be the rent, supplier costs, staff costs and cost of capital. What about Cashflow? When do you pay out? When does money come in? What are the setup costs? How is it all financed? Then you can work out how many bagels you need to sell to cover those, plus how much cash you need to keep going, and turn that intro footfall. Then check you have enough people to serve them etc.
- do the numbers on the best local cafe. Sit there and watch for a few days and note down everything. What will their P&L look like? What can you improve?
- work for a while in one of the organizations you admire. Find out how they source staff, find good croissants, deal with difficult customers, and all the other day to day stuff which would take a lifetime to learn from first principles. Or failing that, do structured interviews (may be informal) with their staff and managers.
- use the learnings above to rewrite your plan.

I know nothing about running cafes, so that’s what I’d do, and it’s also what I’d need to see to invest in such a business.

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