Best of luck with your new venture and keep us apprised on your progress. Your comments and those of the other posters are really interesting and informative.
Fittings are lucrative and you have a great population base to work with. You've been at this for quite sometime so you are well aware of the amount of inventory you'll need to do proper fittings.
Good luck!!!Jam Econo
Ilya, having read your responses here, I think I misunderstood what you meant by high end shop. You are saying you will have fitting, dealing a few brands, repair confined to bikes sold. Sounds more like a very stripped down bike shop if you can call it that at all, more like a bike concierge. How are you planning to drum up business since IMO, fit business would come normally as an add-on to dealing bikes, parts, and repair? Referrals from larger dealers?
Also, where does the name of the shop come from?
I think the name comes from his face... =P
Well then there should recumbents, no?
Put a sign over the workbench that says: "Please do not begin sentences with the word 'yeah,' especially when no one has asked you a question."
Is "yeah" a problem in shops?
The Red beard lives on my face. It's a nickname my customers came up for me at my old shop.
Drumming up business will take some time. Plenty of people have bikes and many of those people have bikes that don't fit. There are thousands of cyclists in NYC that need fittings. More customers than fitters, just the customers aren't all aware yet. Assuming I offer good fits and people are happy with the service the word will spread and I will convert some fits into sales of new bikes, custom or just stock upgrades to their current machines.
Recumbents? A Brompton attached to a Lynskey? Maybe.
Yes, stripped down bike shop is accurate. I'm not familiar with the industry in the rest of the country. I've only heard stories. Maybe High End isn't the right expression. NYC is a very particular market with quite a few shops but they're all very different, offering different services in different neighborhoods with totally different approaches.
You need fancy bags with handles, sweet t-shirts that are pretty expensive, and some high-end euro sh*t no-one can afford to set the whole place off.
Let the t-shirts build the image, the brand, and your bikes and expertise add the substance.
I would strongly consider the custom wheel building suggestion that someone made earlier. The price of factory prebuilts has skyrocketed in the past several years, you can make just as good or better wheels in a custom program with excellent margins. It adds cache and fits with the fit studio vibe. Also, no need to stock parts other than replacement spokes and nipples (order spares with each wheelset built). Tools for this are also not too expensive.
Ilya, good luck. I like that neighborhood. We got our daughter her wedding dress at the White Gown, just around the corner from your shop.
If only I were a wheel builder...
I do plan on getting people on build-ups but I'm not good enough at building wheels to do it myself.
In NYC built up road wheels are quite rare. It's all about the "bling." Most road shops just stick with the usual suspects these days. Fixies, single speeds, bmx, and downhill is totally different; lots of folks get their wheels built from scratch.
Sounds like you should be featuring custom fittings as your core business offering in all of your advertising. That doesn't mean you can't offer various hardware as you deem appropriate, but make it clear why people should come to you....custom fitting. Perhaps it should even be in your shop name "Redbeard custom bike fitting""To be free and to live a free life - that is the most beautiful thing there is."
Looks like some people in my area are finding this old posting and seeing that I don't do repairs.
From the day I dreamed up the shop to today, the shop has changed very much.
Now Redbeard Bikes offers bikes from multiple categories and almost all price ranges. We do fittings, repairs, service, appraisals, magic tricks (bad ones), accessories, everything a normal shop does. Just smaller and with better facial hair.
thanks for checking it out.
ilya "redbeard" nikhamin
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