New Shop Idea - looking for feedback

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

Moderator: Moderator Team

aqualelaki
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 7:12 pm

by aqualelaki

Like what Calnago said, a start up cost is high. I know people who have that kind of shop you're describing. It doesn't look like they really make a lot of profit. It's very obvious to me. But they have money to begin with and enjoying their life style and continue doing that. They're good people and I respect them and I'm enjoying the atmosphere they bring to the table and try to support them when I can by not buying from Internet. It's just my opinion and I'm not trying to discourage you.

User avatar
Rich_W
Posts: 1972
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 1:31 pm
Location: LBI

by Rich_W

aqualelaki wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:27 am
Like what Calnago said, a start up cost is high. I know people who have that kind of shop you're describing. It doesn't look like they really make a lot of profit. It's very obvious to me. But they have money to begin with and enjoying their life style and continue doing that. They're good people and I respect them and I'm enjoying the atmosphere they bring to the table and try to support them when I can by not buying from Internet. It's just my opinion and I'm not trying to discourage you.
What's their shop called? Location?

by Weenie


aqualelaki
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 7:12 pm

by aqualelaki

Rich_W wrote:
aqualelaki wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:27 am
Like what Calnago said, a start up cost is high. I know people who have that kind of shop you're describing. It doesn't look like they really make a lot of profit. It's very obvious to me. But they have money to begin with and enjoying their life style and continue doing that. They're good people and I respect them and I'm enjoying the atmosphere they bring to the table and try to support them when I can by not buying from Internet. It's just my opinion and I'm not trying to discourage you.
What's their shop called? Location?
Metier in Seattle. www.metierseattle.com. They were pro cyclist before and now coaching is one of their biggest business. Food/ cafe, beer, and wine are top notch. Their biggest resource is their network since they were pro cyclist before. They had a shop before, but nothing fancy, but their service is top notch from coaching. They have coached pro cyclist as well and then they go big later on with Metier. Like I said before, they were successful and have money to begin with. If they only have nice shop, I think it's very difficult for them. Again, it's just my opinion and not trying to discourage you. Browse their website, and perhaps visit their shop for your own research. I wish you the best for your business and keep us posted your progress.

peted76
Posts: 377
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:30 pm

by peted76

Lookmumnohands - has it's location (close enough to walk to from the 'wealth' around StPauls), density of population and a local community going for it (meeting point for local riders), alongside the 'cool factor' which attracts business people and urban creatives to meet and eat there. It also does very well from having lots of product launches happening and cycling themed events going on on a weekly basis. I'm not sure it cold start from scratch and do so well now, it opened in 2010 and I think it's fair to say it's ridden the 'boom' in cycling within Britain.

Good luck to you, do keep us updated with how you get on.

User avatar
tymon_tm
Posts: 2846
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:35 pm

by tymon_tm

cool idea, something similar has been circulating round my brain recently - I've even found this lofty building and done some businessplan thingy, but still I'm too affraid to go through with it(especially given I'd have to either team up with an existing bike shop or obtain some proper financing - the cost of filling the shelves alone is just insane)

IMHO what you can do is pretty much determined by the building itself. if it's too modern and too low you won't get the vibe. if it's too old and storey's too high, the renovation costs will kill you, and heating bills will nail your coffin. the space around the building - gotta have an accessible parking lot, but not that concrete mall like plateu, which again - kills the vibe. I live in a ~500k city and finding a suitable spot here is a real challenge

as for the services - if there's a business or university area nearby perhaps some simple take out food could be a nice addition - you won't turn much profit selling muffins and coffee after all. I was thinking fresh fruit stuff - omelets, pancakes, anything that could be named lunch and sold to all those wannabe fit corpo chicks. if it's going to revolve around the cafe, get people in without thinking "bikes". some events, small concerts, workshops etc. make it a nice place to spend time, but then you need the ability to lock the bikeshop part off for obvious reasons. from the bike side - I was thinking about including a bike painting service, as well as a small gym - plenty of people would appreciate a place to work on their rollers in nice company off season as well as spin some kilometers after work.
kkibbler wrote: WW remembers.

bm0p700f
in the industry
Posts: 4836
Joined: Sat May 12, 2012 7:25 pm
Location: Glermsford, Suffolk U.K
Contact:

by bm0p700f

this one calnago?
https://www.thecourtyardknutsford.co.uk/

There's a few here in the u.k in fact there is one not so far from me in Saffron Walden. Like any cafe the food and drink has to be great without being so expensive that people dont buy there fill. of course the trick is controling your overheads.

These sort of business do work but I have no idea how profitable they are.

User avatar
Calnago
Posts: 8328
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:14 pm

by Calnago

Ha. That’s it! Ah, the memories. I had flown over to the UK mid June years ago, put my touring bike together at Heathrow, then gave the cheap duffel bag to the airport guy that was curiously watching me assemble my bike. He was so appreciative and didn’t want to accept it at first but I said, “Look, I’m not lugging that thing around with me for the next 6 weeks so either take it or I’m throwing it away.” I then loaded up onto a train to head southwest and dip my bike in the water at Lands End then just start riding. I picked up Ordinance Survey maps along the way and weaved my way through small roads and towns all the way to John O’Groats eventually. Lots of great experiences and I designated Thursday evenings as Fish n Chip night along with Mushy Peas. Oh I miss the mushy peas. And a pint or two. I stopped in Knutsford one day to get a much needed haircut and found The Courtyard and since it had bicycle parts around I had to go in. Not really a bike shop, more of a little theme museum. Was a little upscale for me the way I was dressed and all... felt like I might meet the likes of Lady Di or someone in there. I pondered going to visit an old girlfriend who lived not far away in Derby, but in the end just kept rolling North as I knew she might not be as “thrilled” to see me as my imagination was leading me to believe.
Got rained on a fair bit that trip. The Alps it wasn’t. But fun in a different kind of way.
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

User avatar
Rich_W
Posts: 1972
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 1:31 pm
Location: LBI

by Rich_W

@Tymon - for the most part we're on the same page.

All great feedback... Menu design will be far beyond coffee and muffins - that was merely a joke from my previous poseur thread. An experienced restaurntenur is part of my team developing the core menu and supply chain requirements. Location and area data will dictate viability, scope and inventory requirements. I have a team working that. As for the finance perpective - who not even consider this exercise without means to bring necessary resources to the table. That being said this project is very much in the planning phase.

Vision is to create a magnetic destination. Branding, vibe, menu and atmosphere will be of the utmost importance. Retail layout will be stunning, thoughtful and passionate. I have a retail architect on my team as well. Merely tossing a hat half heatedly into the dying notion of me-too bicycle retailing is not where this is going.

Very pleased to find out about similar businesses I can benchmark in my process alongside what I'm finding as best-in-class. Please keep them coming.

KWalker
Posts: 5929
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:30 pm
Location: Bay Area

by KWalker

I know this seems trendy but there are a few reasons I think it's a tough bordering terrible business idea that rarely succeeds. In fact, I worked at one that had a ton of money, great location, and went under:

1. These cafes almost never have coffee that compares to cafes that know their shit and often have to set a similar price point to compete. If cyclists aren't into your coffee and you don't have a reason for them to always be in the shop then they can just go to whatever is convenient or they prefer. The equipment will be expensive and I'm not sure a good barista wants to work at a bike shop cafe for the following reason:
2. The hours that cyclists will actually roll through will be sporadic. Either very early morning, the occasional noon ride, and after work. People won't typically be buying coffee at noon or after work. Most cyclists don't roll through for beers, wine, and food in their kit and brings me to:
3. You have to have a reason to bring non-cyclists in consistently. Cyclists aren't going to be dedicated to your spot when they're off the bike if there are any options in town.
4. Unless you have a reason for non-roadies to come in, you won't sell as many bikes as you think. No matter what you do the cafe and wine bar will come off as pretentious to the majority of your cycling customers, which are almost always guaranteed to be people that don't give a shit about any of this and that don't spend much money on bikes. If there is a cheaper shop that seems to cater to normal people they will go there even if the products and service are not up to par.
5. Just add up the start-up cost of all the equipment, inventory, and real estate. You're trying to start 3 businesses in 1 with typically niche/high end products.

So at the end of the day your repeat customers will be from a small base, purchasing expensive gear rather infrequently (and often demanding discounts), and not exactly loyal. You really need to expand into this from an existing shop that has a large, wealthy, consistent clientele.
Don't take me too seriously. The only person that doesn't hate Froome.
Gramz
Failed Custom Bike

User avatar
wheelbuilder
Posts: 663
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:10 am

by wheelbuilder

I kind of agree with KWalker on this. I worked a block away from the SF Rapha club. It is located in the wealthiest area of San Francisco and was very very close to the launch area of many epic road rides. They did great with their own club membership and seemed to have a consistent number of members coming in to rent bikes. They were the start point of a couple of popular weekly road rides as well. They also sold Rapha kit obviously. They had to be open very early in the morning to get the coffee business of the area roadies, but they were always struggling with getting non-cycling folk in for their cafe. Their yelp reviews from non cyclist customers were always very poor and a source of some great observational humor. Roadies in kit with bikes don't spend very much money, and non roadies looking to spend money on coffee and muffins don't want to hang around kit wearing roadies. Good luck though man. I hope you are a success!
Never cheer before you know who is winning

User avatar
kbbpll
Posts: 449
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:56 am

by kbbpll

We had a similar idea 20+ years ago - a bike shop microbrewery where you could just ride right in up to the bar and not leave the saddle. One of those half joke, half serious kind of things.

My first thought was that you're going to have to survive in two different businesses at once. Both highly competitive, at least around here, with a history of coming and going almost as fast as the seasons. You'll have to steal customers from two different established niches, and then keep them. Will they come back for the bike shop? The cafe? Both??

My second thought, having worked in both bike shops and restaurants, is that bike shops are cluttered, greasy, dirty, smelly places, and so are a lot of the customers. Sure, you'll get investment bankers strolling in on their lunch hour to drool over your high end must-haves, but you'll also have mud-covered people halfway through their rides needing their spoke replaced or whatever. You want them walking right through your cafe area to the shop? Clop clop clop they go, dripping goo. I would think you'd quickly realize there needs to be a hard separation between the shop and the cafe, and then that defeats the whole purpose. I certainly would never go back for food where I had to mix my eating experience with the stench of chain lube and tires.

It would definitely be cool to see this be highly successful for you though, despite my negativity. My experience with bike shops is that with the right "cult of personality", you get a lot of people just hanging around the shop. If you can just get them to spend some money... :idea:

User avatar
Rich_W
Posts: 1972
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 1:31 pm
Location: LBI

by Rich_W

You guys are on a roll no doubt. Mostly insightful but also a bit reactive mixed with misconceptions.

Article on Yahoo finance yesterday.

The Internet is Transforming Bike Shops into Community Spaces

User avatar
tymon_tm
Posts: 2846
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:35 pm

by tymon_tm

KWalker wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:57 am
I know this seems trendy but there are a few reasons I think it's a tough bordering terrible business idea that rarely succeeds. In fact, I worked at one that had a ton of money, great location, and went under:

1. These cafes almost never have coffee that compares to cafes that know their shit and often have to set a similar price point to compete. If cyclists aren't into your coffee and you don't have a reason for them to always be in the shop then they can just go to whatever is convenient or they prefer. The equipment will be expensive and I'm not sure a good barista wants to work at a bike shop cafe for the following reason:
being a complete coffee diletant (McD arabica works for me just fine) I tried to dig into the 'quality coffee' thing and ended up with a conclusion that with a decent coffee machine even a donkey will get a nice product. all this barista thing seems overrated and IMHO it's just like with the most expensive restaurants - you often don't get any better food than in - say - middle quality joints, but you pay premium for the whole experience. so in case of a 'bike cafe/shop' although the quality of the products must be high, I'd say you don't need a pro barista, 10k machine and a 1k per bag imported grain - you just need a good coffee. getting fixed on having every single element top noth, best quality etc might not be the most economical way here.
KWalker wrote: 2. The hours that cyclists will actually roll through will be sporadic. Either very early morning, the occasional noon ride, and after work. People won't typically be buying coffee at noon or after work. Most cyclists don't roll through for beers, wine, and food in their kit and brings me to:
this is not necessarily true. the trends suggest fixed working hours is a thing of the past. not everywhere of course and the office hours take away a lot of customers, but that's what most customer oriented businesses struggle with. as for the cycling geeks - a lot of guys I know are either business owners, salesmen, docs and lawyers (yup...) and other kinds of proffesions that allow them to work their own hours and thus find time for riding and all the adjacent activities. it might seem strange but there's far more "serious cyclists" in the most roadie oriented lbs around 11-12 am than after 4 or 5 pm, when "civilians" start to show. thing is - if you choose this lifestyle of a bike maniac, you need to make some concesions and it shows. this doesn't mean you'll be able to sustain traffic all day long - but the prospect of empty cafe/shop during office hours is IMHO unfounded. besides, it's also a question of managing the staff. obviously it would be ideal to employ dedicated staff for every single position, but in reality, or at least that's what I though of, shifting people from positions during the day depending on the customers is a concept worth working on. why keep 2 or 3 persons in the cafe area when there's little crowd - they can do some work in the service area, manage orders or whatever. this not only makes their job more interesting but also keeps you flexible depending on what really catches on and what doesn't.
KWalker wrote: 3. You have to have a reason to bring non-cyclists in consistently. Cyclists aren't going to be dedicated to your spot when they're off the bike if there are any options in town.

4. Unless you have a reason for non-roadies to come in, you won't sell as many bikes as you think. No matter what you do the cafe and wine bar will come off as pretentious to the majority of your cycling customers, which are almost always guaranteed to be people that don't give a shit about any of this and that don't spend much money on bikes. If there is a cheaper shop that seems to cater to normal people they will go there even if the products and service are not up to par.
I find it the main obstacle too. those fancy bike joints indeed are pretentious, even I don't feel "at home" there, and I know being joe average just lurking in might put you off. this is both the issue of the right personnel (lbs dudes too often keep their heads in their asses) and the "ambience", the feel that the place presents. this style with too many gear, like in most places like that, imposes the bike context too strongly and makes people insecure. as for the 'decor' I really like this one: http://veloart.cc/ (unfortunately no english version of the page) - spacious, pretty neat, without the feeling you can't go in unless you've shaved your legs today.
KWalker wrote: 5. Just add up the start-up cost of all the equipment, inventory, and real estate. You're trying to start 3 businesses in 1 with typically niche/high end products.
this is also one of my biggest concerns. how to plan two entirely different business ventures so they can complement one another and basically function as one. luckily this isn't mission to mars, and businesses add services as they go all the time. take women's 'beauty' joints for instance - I've helped establish two such places and the initial idea was to combine a place where girls can have their girly cosmetic stuff done, but also spend time just chatting, sipping coffee or prosecco, perhaps come with their kids (that's often an issue!) so they can play when mommy makes a creature out of herself. the first place I designed combined all that and it's been on the market for few years now. the girl who runs it added take away food/snacks ("fit" lunches), yoga classes and even holds some minor cultural events from time to time, like poetry evenings. recently she asked me to help her plan going all franchise with her joint...
KWalker wrote: So at the end of the day your repeat customers will be from a small base, purchasing expensive gear rather infrequently (and often demanding discounts), and not exactly loyal. You really need to expand into this from an existing shop that has a large, wealthy, consistent clientele.
yeah, people will still buy online, but at the other hand there's more and more customers who don't count every penny making the shopping experience equally, or perhaps more important than the product and it's price itself. yes, having a customer base helps, I've spoken with this roadie lbs (the one I described in the 'poseur' topic as the ultimate dragon's den..) but here's the issue - this other dude who already runs a successful venture doesn't really need to feel your ideas, and it's paramount at this point for you to make sure this venture works. it won't if you make concesions and feel a wall on the other side of the office desk so to speak.

it's not to say those remarks are unfounded, but as I understand at this point it's not about IF but HOW. basically something about seeing the glass half full rather than half empty. :thumbup:
kkibbler wrote: WW remembers.

User avatar
Rich_W
Posts: 1972
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 1:31 pm
Location: LBI

by Rich_W

@Tymon - thanks for another profound and thoughtful dissertation. Your summary of the glass is spot on. I had to re-read your editorial in the Poseur thread. Are you guys seeing the tie-in yet :lol:. I have always loved sparking discussion here.

Only thing I'll add at this point is the local demographic is heavy on older, wealthier riders... so all points taken... the food service piece has to be well executed for success. Interesting this exact subject comes up on Yahoo finance yesterday. Difficult for existing shops to adapt. New businessed are trying a new formula. But every community/destination focused business mentioned in the thread has generated curiosity. Bikes are not dying. Cycling communities are growing strong. Everybody loves to talk bikes and live the lifestyle regardless of where they buy their bike.

Yes, very much a gamble - but the viability, planning, and R&D of the concept continues at this desk. Keep it coming. :thumbup:

sawyer
Posts: 4513
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 7:45 pm
Location: Natovi Landing

by sawyer

Have a look at Dynamo in London also. Good coffee, good space, large non-cyclist clientele

Integration with local cycling clubs is an important additional source of potential revenue.

Making the place an attractive destination for non-cyclists is key. Without that, you are limiting your market far too much. You need to be very good at profitable food ... which in this context means pizza and protein. You need to think very hard about what it takes to become good at that, and be attractive to cyclists and non-cyclists alike, round the clock, because that is where you succeed or fail.

BTW, as aside, one point raised about bike security not being important. Couldn't agree less ... security of bike is fundamental to the cycling customer, but remember that will only be a %age of your revenue, but an important part of it, and the overall vibe you're trying to create.

Think hard about what makes a place atmospheric.
----------------------------------------
Stiff, Light, Aero - Pick Three!! :thumbup:

by Weenie


Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post