New Shop Idea - looking for feedback

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Rich_W
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by Rich_W

Dear Weenies,

I'm considering opening a cafe/shop. I've been noticing this trend where bike shops are built around cafe's -- as opposed to existing bike shops merely adding a micro cafe or merely coffee counter as an afterthought. Cafe is the center of the business and retail space.

Without giving out too much specifics on my proposed location, the plan is in an affluent area in the Southeastern US w/ 4 season riding, strategically located close to a very well traveled cycling route.

I'm looking for feedback on this model and any like businesses you know of worldwide I could study.

The breakdown 55-60% cafe/craft beer & wine, 40-45% bike boutique/fit studio. Cafe seating for approx 20, tables, Couch and lounge area, outdoor tables and umbrellas.

The aim is to create a desintation where riders and groups can ride to, have their coffee/espresso and muffin break (This means you :laughat: Calnago... you poseur / target audience...) gourmet sandwichs and smoothies, etc. But also a destination for non riders just looking to hang and have a beer, work on their laptop, do buisness etc. Operating hours from 8am - 8pm. Create a spot focused on cycling culture, fill wall spaces with a mix imagery of cycling history and also consign work by local artists. Big screen TVs with bike racing, Perhaps have an open mic one night a week...

Walking though the doors you're in a cafe, walk past the cafe your in a bespoke bicycle boutique. Full fit studio, service department and all fine cycling product. Not simply all high end but also fashionable. Handmade builders etc. Looking to create a boutique of contemporary and stylish as opposed to the basic mom and pop bike shop. The idea is to be different and unique and truly focused on cycling as a lifestyle. Provide expert service and support for any type of bicycle rider. Its also not about alienating anyone.

I've seen a few shops out there with this vibe... similar but not the exact model. Couple examples below... I've found many across the US.

The Bikery - St. Petersburg

Rouler - New Orleans

by Weenie


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wheelbuilder
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by wheelbuilder

The work/bike area of Rouler looks very cluttered and messy. Does not look like a good service area.

Good luck to you, though! I hope you are successful. This is a tough industry.

jfranci3
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Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:21 pm

by jfranci3

The best I've seen so far is Naples Cyclery / Fuel cafe. They are separate stores. The cafe is really just a lobby, which uses the sidewalk area of both shops for seating. They have a huge parking lot to be a good starting location for rides. The bike shop has a thriving rental business, which seems to be heavily weighted toward beach cruisers/casual bikes.

On the cafe side, I think you need to remember that cafe's attract kids, which are not compatible with new bike displays. Coming up with a cafe menu for cyclist isn't hard. What would be hard would be getting weekday, driving-to-work and lunch business. You'd also want to partner with a local bakery who can provide bagels, muffins, and compressed oatmeal cubes. I'd also partner with a local, but not in-town, coffee/beer shop that brands well. The bakery and sandwich selection is more important than the coffee.

On the bike shop side, your cafe clientele wants a quick ride-day repair stand and ride-day goodies. Selling tshirts and gear would be second. And dead last would be fancy bikes. You can't even justify keeping a highend bike on the floor unless your business is in NYC, LA, etc. If you have a high-end bike, be prepared to call it a demo and heavily discount it - maybe even partner with another few shops and rotate high end bikes around every now and then. Customers will want to talk about the newest do-dad rather than buy one, so have one of everything you think is worth chatting about but not three of them - they are going to buy it on the internet anyway. The fitting area is just theater, put it in a place to take up space in front, otherwise in the dark dingy corner. Your bike shop is a service shop, a tshirt shop, a sports nutrition store, and a marketing engine for the cafe - selling bikes you do when you can.

I'd look for a corner unit on the route with a huge parking area. I'd put the cafe on the outward corner with most of the glass. I'd "L" the bike shop with the retail side facing the street and the service area facing the non-desirable. I'd charge more for regular tune-ups with a resource dedicated to quick turn around at peak times. I'm spend more on shop branded shirts/caps and bicycle branded lifestyle gear, than actual gear. I'd put a simple interior doorway between the bike shop and the cafe, making the customer walk outside to get to the service area quickly. I'd also tier the interior seating so the inside seating is higher than the outside seating a step or two so you can see who's inside the cafe when the outside is busy.

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Rich_W
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by Rich_W

Thanks for the feedback. Yes I've seen the Fit and Fuel cafe in Naples. Their space is consierably smaller than what we're considering. They're right next to a Subway franchise.

To your point, high end bikes will be samples. Area is very affluent. Interesting points on the interior layout. Will likely carry an anchoring full line as well. One of the store locations we're looking at has plenty of parking and the space is 85 deep by 25 wide. Good glass on the front with room for outdoor seating. Customers would be walking through the cafe, lounge area, then retail area with service counter to the rear. And yes, impossible to compete with the internet. However service is paramount.

PJCM
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Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 6:44 am

by PJCM

Bicycle Junction in Wellington NZ is the best example of cafe-shop integration that I've seen here. Its targeted wholly at the urban market and very busy.

Check out the photos here https://www.bicyclejunction.co.nz/

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Calnago
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by Calnago

Will there be muffins?
Good luck to you, but I’d say that’s a very risky proposition. You’re going to have to sell a lot of muffins to pay the bills. And even more to turn a profit. Basically what you’re proposing is a cool cafe and you think its cool because it shares what I presume is a culture that you are also into (Bikes). But at the end of the day it’s a cafe, and you want to draw as many profitable customers as possible, whether they ride a bike or not. A theme is cool, but cyclists are just a small cross section of the customer base. Anyway, good luck.
I’m particularly fond of blueberry muffins by the way. And although my bike is expensive I can take up a seat in your cafe for the better part of a day (cuz it’s cool) and buy nothing more than a couple cups of coffee and a muffin. Mostly you’ve just provided me a place to hang out and show off my bikes. Ha... that’s what you need to really be wary of. I love it when new cafes and restaurants open up. And they’re closing and opening all the time. Tough business.
Colnago C64 - The Naked Build; Colnago C60 - PR99; Trek Koppenberg - Where Emonda and Domane Meet;
Unlinked Builds (searchable): Colnago C59 - 5 Years Later; Trek Emonda SL Campagnolo SR; Special Colnago EPQ

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Rich_W
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by Rich_W

I think you're misunderstanding. Its not just a cafe. The plan is truly a bike shop and service department. But built around a cafe as the focal point. Thought is more customer types than just cyclists. Regardless its unique to the area.

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Calnago
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by Calnago

I think I understand. I like the idea. And they usually are unique to the area. There was this cool cafe in Knutsford, England, that I stopped in while touring the UK. Bikes hanging everywhere, I liked it becasue of that. A courtyard. It was nice. But it was a theme rather than a bike shop. I wonder if it's still there. At another spot in the lake District I remember a coffe shop/cafe downstairs and a full bike shop upstairs. There's a place in Vancouver, BC calle Le Musette... very cycling focused and probably the coolest collection of cycling memorabilia I've ever seen. Still, more of a theme than a bike shop. I think like a lot of things, it's got to be a labor of love, so if you are truly passionate about it, there's a better chance of success. You just never know till you open the doors however. Do you have a good day job that you'd be giving up for this pursuit? Are are you set and this is just another business venture that if it fails, well... meh. Or would you be devastated if you put in your life savings and it failed? Those kinds of things have to play into any of these decisions. But ok... enough of all that... I like cream cheese frosting on carrot cake muffins too.
Colnago C64 - The Naked Build; Colnago C60 - PR99; Trek Koppenberg - Where Emonda and Domane Meet;
Unlinked Builds (searchable): Colnago C59 - 5 Years Later; Trek Emonda SL Campagnolo SR; Special Colnago EPQ

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TonyM
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by TonyM

Go for it! It’s a good concept I think.

BTW how are the bikes of the customers of the cafe secured?

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Rich_W
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by Rich_W

TonyM wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:48 am
Go for it! It’s a good concept I think.

BTW how are the bikes of the customers of the cafe secured?
Thanks Tony - Both outdoor and indoor rack areas are planned along with a multi camera security system.

Plenty of space for you and Calnago to conspiculously display your rigs while stuffing muffins. :beerchug:

mattr
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by mattr

https://www.lookmumnohands.com/locations/old-street

This seems to be pretty popular. And is doing very similar to what you seem to be targetting.

tonytourist
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by tonytourist


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Rich_W
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by Rich_W

@mattr and @tonytourist - thanks for those links!

jfranci3
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by jfranci3

Indoor rack? Are you trying to make money? That space could be used for space! Clutter = less approachable. I've never picked a coffee stop based on bike security. Just put a long hanging rail outside in clear view with lots of white space around it. Put it closer to the bike shop area, so people need to walk past the shop to/from the cafe.


Is this a neighborhood or main street setting? What are you modeling the cafe after? Maybe look at compelling cafe spaces first then add the bike spaces, as the cafe is your main traffic/loyalty driver. http://pedalersfork.com/ looks awesome, but will probably scare away non-cyclists - I don't think I could get my wife to meet me there. In my travels, these are the two best coffee shop settings I've run into. Common threads were: corner neighborhood shops with convertible indoor/outdoor space. Lots of light and lots of seating options. Both drove TONs of daily and evening traffic.
https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/st-hono ... ab=outside
http://colectivocoffee.com/cafes/monroe-st/

We have these in Chicago. I don't feel they've driven ANY buzz among cyclist here.
https://www.heritagebicycles.com/
https://anciencycles.com/

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mattyNor
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by mattyNor

Take a look at fix coffee and bikes in Toronto

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