Mobile mechanic business Velotooler has created an interesting discussion piece for the independent bicycle retail business in a Vlog titled “Bike shops – how to have a future”.
Founder Yahor Buben and Rhode Island mechanic Amos Brumble are the two panelist who take on the the topic of shop closures in the U.S., what the causes may be and how to address modern difficulties facing frontline stores.
The topic closely follows a similar discussion on how direct to consumer brands will play a deeper role in the bike business going forwards and how bike shops can turn aspects of this to their advantage.
The topic of closure rates has been on the industry’s lips lately, both in the U.S. and further afield. The general consensus is that there will always be a place for the bricks and mortar bike shop, but that the business will become increasingly service led. There are strong counter arguments that place emphasis on stores being a destination to demo product that’s just to big or important an investment to take a chance on online.
In the UK, CyclingIndustry.News started a thread on trade-locked forum BikeTradeBuzz crowd-sourcing names of closures and openings in a bid to calculate the rate of the market’s shrinkage in 2017 alone. The number of bike shop businesses for sale has been steadily rising throughout the year on business sale websites.
Those independent stores that have shut up shop in the UK in 2017 include, but may be limited to:
Ilkley Cycles, At The Hub Swindon, Motion Norwich, Harvey’s Cycles, Ben Hayward, M Steel, Cyclehub, London Fields, Sheffield Cycles, Cadence Sports, Freeflow, Bikes +, Grease Monkey (Glasgow), Nuneaton cyclery, Cycle City York, The Bicycle Workshop, Cyclopedia, Speeds of Bromsgrove, Bicis-Y-Mas, Skyline Cycles, Hinckley Cycle Centre, On Yer Bike in Oadby, Luciano Cycles, Mosquito Bikes, Chiltern Bike Barn, Exmoor Cycles, Cyclecinno, 559, Tenby Cycles, Stuart Barkley Cycles, Independent Bikes, Urban Cyclery, Dorchester Bikes, Tarmac and Trail, City Cycles, Smith Brothers, Simply the Bike, Ride, Pedal Pedal, 2Wheels Better, TFN Nottingham, Whittlesey Cycles, Ratcliffe’s of Leigh and Muddybum.
The exact rate of market shrinkage is currently being investigated by CI.N ahead of an in-depth analysis to be published at a later date. If your store has or is on the verge of closing, CI.N is interested to hear your take on why the market is suffering such a turbulent time at present.
In the meantime, here’s some workshop listening for the day ahead: