Saturday, April 10, 2010

Roadside Attractions

On my ride I was wondering when I was going to see something of interest. Then there it was in front of a store called PR Factory Store . On westridge road between 350W and 350E. They sell high end motorcycle stuff.


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We had a little get together at the shop other day. We tried out the new Boulevard. Click on the link to find out about the Rabbit and Goat on the front of the box. There is a Kansas City story of course.
and here are a few photos of the new store. Here is one of the new light fixtures. I believe we have 4 of them.
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This is a picture of the backside of the front door. If you were standing in the door way looking out, you would see KKFI .
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Since it's after hours, the lights downstairs are out, but there are 2 levels. Most of the repair stuff is downstairs. The upstairs does have one service station for quick repairs, like for flats and small adjustments.
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Do I like the new store better than the old store? I don't know. I think the new store has a lot of potential. What can I say since I've been at Midwest cyclery in one capacity or another since 1986. The Broadway location was the warehouse at one time for 7 bike shops in Kansas City. We had a lot of people working for us. These were of course before the times of Mail-order, and the "Inter-webs". "Mail-order" as in the times when mail-order places would sell some products for below our cost . . . "It's just good competition", they say. The mailorder places need to be compensated for the fact they don't provide personal service . . . ? . . . That means mail-order places should be able to sell product below cost so they can compete, because they don't have foot traffic . . . Still lost? . . . . That means if your a good bike shop, you should be able to squeeze the customer for 30+% because they are in your store face to face . . . You know, a good salesman can sell an eskimo an icecube maker. . . . That means come up with gimiks to cheat customers. Since we don't cheat customers, we just boycotted the companys . . . along with a lot, if not all the local bike shop owners. The companys changed policy the mail-order could not sell the products below a cetain price. . . . Also what really got me about that time, was when people would come in, you would spend an hour with them trying on helmuts, shoes, whatever, then they walk out . . . Then the next week they show up, with the exact same stuff, from mailorder. Well at that time when mailorder was permitted to sell things at or just above what the bike shop buy it for, that might tend to happen.
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Now we have the internet, and ebay. I could go on about that, but it would be much of the same. Actually believe it or not we have concerns greater than that. The other day I'm at a toy store, and they sold "14 speed" bikes for $55. Sure it's a POS, and I'll just leave it at that. What I want to bring your attention to is the fact that $55 is just about the same price we sell replacment steel wheels for. So how does this BIG BOX store retail a whole bicycle, for about the same price a bicycle shop can buy a set of replacment steel wheel for? People will say it must be a loss leader (That mean they lose money (Under Price it ) on it on purpose to get people in the store in the hopes they buy other over-priced things. Check all your Big Box stores, they come in and around this price.
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Forget $55, lets almost double that. I remember buying a BMX bike in 1976 for $100. So how is it almost 35 years later, you can buy a bicycle for less than that? . . Heck a 35LBS steel plate (A bicycle packed for shpping typically weights around 35 Lbs.) for weight lifting costs around $45. Compare the functionality between a 35Lbs steel plate, and a bicycle.
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Also when people come in with a bent wheel on one of these POS bikes, then tell them it's going to be $55 to replace the back wheel. They say "What? . . . I bought the whole bike for $75?". Then they usually do what . . . Walk out, then go down to the Big Box store and get a whole new bicycle. Can't say I totally blame them. But let me put this thought in you head. I can't watch TV without being bombarded by commercials, or announcments reminding me to conserve, recycle, or be "Green". How is the customer supposed to be "Green", when all these Big Box places retail disposable bicycles. How about some of these Big Box store be a little more "Sustainable". Sell "sustainable bicycles" instead of "disposible bicycles". Now sustainable bicycles, could sustain a bike shop. . . . and this goes beyond the bicycle business. I ask, How can the people sustain these disposible products. Ever have a shimano Ultegra STI lever break a 1/2 cent spring, only to find out you have to replace the whole lever, and now you have to spring $150 for a whole new lever. There is no and to it. Let say you have a pressure washer, and the pump goes out. You just need to replace a rubber seal, but they will not sell just the seal, you have to buy a whole new pump for $170. You know, it almost seems to me we have a thesis, and anti-thesis working together here to create a synthesis.
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Yea . . . back to 2010.

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