Supporting Your Local Bike Shop: Ask Them About Matching On-Line Orders
Did you know your local bike shop (LBS) can order just about anything for you? Not only do you get the support and advice you’ve come to expect, you can also get online retail pricing and convenience.
I’m in the process of upgrading my brakes to a beautiful set of Hope Race Evo X2s. It’s an upgrade that’s been a long time coming. I’m a huge fan of Hope’s products (they make the very best hubs, in my opinion) so moving to a Hope braking system makes sense, especially in light of how well their new system is being received by critics and the public.
After finding a pair online, I said to myself, “Self, why don’t you see if Chris at Uptown Cycles can match that.”
Here’s my logic for this. First, the brakes weren’t available on any site that I was familiar with. That meant I was taking a risk with a retailer with which I had no previous interaction. …and I’ve been burned before. Second, the brakes are expensive, and having them shipped to a business and secured there made sense. Third, I’ve been leaning on this LBS for years. They help me out when I’m in a pickle, give me advice and tips, and all the while, do great work – some of which they charge me for. So it seemed right to keep them in mind when there’s a little profit margin to be made. This final point is essential: if your LBS can’t turn a profit, they go out of business. If they go out of business, then you have no LBS, and you have to start the search all over again.
This story ends with the LBS finding the Hope Brakes through a distributor, beating the price of the online retailer, and all the while I got my choice and configuration vetted by three people who know mountain bikes and mountain bike brakes. Meanwhile, they made a few bucks on inventory they didn’t have to stock, and a few bucks more gets added to their bottom line. Literally, everybody won in the scenario.
I know it’s counterintuitive in today’s world, but ordering parts and components from your LBS is cheap and easy. In my case, it was cheaper, easier, and had less risk.
Margin refers to the amount of money that is made by the LBS after it pays the manufacturer or distributor for the product. That margin is essential as it pays for their time, their facilities, their ability to be there for you, and their ability to pay staff. Businesses make margin on the products they re-sell, manufacture themselves, or the services they provide. If you aren’t comfortable with your LBS and its owner, making money, I suggest you move to Montana and start up a community based on bartering.
Part of the challenge with a company like Hope is that they’re a UK firm with limited physical distribution of their products here in the US. But ordering those parts through my LBS is super easy and safe.
I’m not a paid endorser for Hope. But I could be for the right price. HMU.
I’m specifically referring to Uptown Cycles here in Charlotte, NC. http://uptowncyclescharlotte.com/