Opening a bike shop??

sprintkid
sprintkid Posts: 315
edited April 2013 in Road general
Hello all, I need some feedback from some like minded people. I have been toying with the idea for some time now of opening a bike shop. A property that would be perfect for my dream shop has come vacant so I've decided to get some feedback on my idea. I want to open a shop with all the usual stuff you would find in any decent bike shop. Everything from high end road bike through to kids bikes. But along side the bike shop I would like to run a cafe for cyclists. A place for a club ride cake stop. Or just someone out on their bike who fancies a cool place to chill out. I'd have screens with cycling on them. But I'd also like to have evenings with some roller race events and stuff like that. The question is do the fine people out there think this would be the sort of shop they would use??? All feedback welcome :D
sprintkid
«13

Comments

  • danlikesbikes
    danlikesbikes Posts: 3,898
    In theory it sounds like just the type of shop I would use. However depends on the customer service element, as I have 4 very good looking on paper LBS's in my area however only one that consider give great customer service and its the one that I constantly go back to.
    Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.
  • Grill
    Grill Posts: 5,610
    Works for the Rapha store in London.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • mbthegreat
    mbthegreat Posts: 179
    Was talking to the owner of a LBS here about the coffee thing, he had a good point that the people that come to drink coffee won't necessarily spend any money in your shop, but will talk to all your staff and tie up their time. Something to consider.
  • Sounds great to me and don't dismiss the money you can make out of coffee and cakes.

    Now open Sunday mornings and you could be on to winner
  • Hoopdriver
    Hoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    Sounds intriguing to me too.

    Sunday openings, money made on coffee and cakes - it could work really well in the right location.
  • smidsy
    smidsy Posts: 5,273
    Hoopdriver wrote:
    Sounds intriguing to me too.

    Sunday openings, money made on coffee and cakes - it could work really well in the right location.

    That part is possibly true.

    The actual bike shop bit however is very tough. People buy cheap on the internet and it is very hard to get anything other that passing trade and costly to set up accounts with suppliers etc.

    People can not sit and consume coffe and cake on the interwed.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • smidsy wrote:
    Hoopdriver wrote:
    Sounds intriguing to me too.

    Sunday openings, money made on coffee and cakes - it could work really well in the right location.

    That part is possibly true.

    The actual bike shop bit however is very tough. People buy cheap on the internet and it is very hard to get anything other that passing trade and costly to set up accounts with suppliers etc.

    People can not sit and consume coffe and cake on the interwed.

    That is exactly the problem. I don't see why people are so obsessed at saving every little penny and not supporting your local economy and/or someone's shop. I think laziness plays a large part as well!
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    smidsy wrote:
    Hoopdriver wrote:
    Sounds intriguing to me too.

    Sunday openings, money made on coffee and cakes - it could work really well in the right location.

    That part is possibly true.

    The actual bike shop bit however is very tough. People buy cheap on the internet and it is very hard to get anything other that passing trade and costly to set up accounts with suppliers etc.

    People can not sit and consume coffe and cake on the interwed.

    That is exactly the problem. I don't see why people are so obsessed at saving every little penny and not supporting your local economy and/or someone's shop. I think laziness plays a large part as well!

    Er most most of the time it's not "penny's" its often 30%+ cheaper on-line. On a big ticket item like a set of wheels you're often saving £100+

    Or an example...105 chain at lbs £29.99 on-line £19.99 from wiggle.
  • msherry21
    msherry21 Posts: 42
    I wouldn't bother selling bikes, its a flooded market already and very tight margins of profit for an expensive outlay.

    Instead concentrate on a cycle cafe ( sort of Ace Cafe style for cyclists). build it and they will come. If your service is good, local cyclists will happily plan a stop at your place when out on a run.

    Why not offer more services rather than products, bike fitting, re-taping handlebars, things that some folk maybe not comfortable with doing themselves. You can charge good money but its only costing you time.

    Cheers, Michael.
    Mobile Car Valeting

    Mobile Car Valet & Detailing Specialist based in Glasgow.
  • smidsy
    smidsy Posts: 5,273
    That is exactly the problem. I don't see why people are so obsessed at saving every little penny and not supporting your local economy and/or someone's shop. I think laziness plays a large part as well!

    You surely do not believe that.

    Come on, if you can get somehting the same but cheaper then any sane, rational person would.

    People work hard for their money and things are getting tighter and tighter so every pound saved is a blessing.

    Hobbies are expensive enough without paying more for something than you have to.

    I accept that local businesses need to thrive too but when online retailers supply what you want it is very difficult for them. Just look at HMV, Blockbuster, Comet etc etc.

    I do support my LBS as much as I can (always get tools, nuts, bolts, brake pads etc) and even pay them to true wheels and stuff, but I got my Basso at 50% reduction so I am sure as hell not going to pay full price down the LBS.

    OP - this debate is exactly why it is very difficult for a LBS and only affirms my earlier stance.

    Coffe, cakes and cycling related something, maybe, selling bikes and clothing is very very tough.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • DavidJB wrote:
    smidsy wrote:
    Hoopdriver wrote:
    Sounds intriguing to me too.

    Sunday openings, money made on coffee and cakes - it could work really well in the right location.

    That part is possibly true.

    The actual bike shop bit however is very tough. People buy cheap on the internet and it is very hard to get anything other that passing trade and costly to set up accounts with suppliers etc.

    People can not sit and consume coffe and cake on the interwed.

    That is exactly the problem. I don't see why people are so obsessed at saving every little penny and not supporting your local economy and/or someone's shop. I think laziness plays a large part as well!

    Er most most of the time it's not "penny's" its often 30%+ cheaper on-line. On a big ticket item like a set of wheels you're often saving £100+

    Or an example...105 chain at lbs £29.99 on-line £19.99 from wiggle.

    It isn't just about cost, it's also about the range of available products. I have nowhere within 100 miles of me that has anything near the breadth of choice that Wiggle or CRC has.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,237
    Some aspects of the trade could potentially be lucrative, if exploited in the right manner. I could probably make a living by combining wheel building with a cafe', but it takes you a minimum of one year to get to this position, provided you are already at a point where you can sell what you make.
    It is something we were toying with my wife last year, having a workshop and cafe'... problem is the location... for a workshop you want space, for a cafe' you do need space. For both you need a busy town/city... space in the right place costs money and even integrating the two, which is a cool idea, you still need a lot of space to be viable.
    The advantages of a workshop over a shop are in that you are not competing with internet trade and you don't have to buy lots of stock upfront.

    Zappi in Oxford is runnig a cafe'/bike shop... I have no idea how they are doing, but when I have been there it wasn't exactly heaving...
    left the forum March 2023
  • To the OP..

    There was an article about this very thing yesterday on the BBC....apparently shops are suffering from customers "showrooming" as they called it.
    Basically go look at the item in local shop..whatever it may be...pump the poor sales assistant for all the info they can give you...promise to return...then go buy it cheaper off the web...armed with all the knowledge your local shop have given you.
    It really is a cut throat world......there was a post on here about "gatecrashing" a sportive, basically tagging along for nowt...so you see the mentality you are up against....I'm not slagging off anyone at all, it's just a VERY VERY difficult time to start a specialist business in my opinion, but personally...if you did set it up, in my area, I for one would love the cool cafe idea, maybe as the other poster said...channel yourself down that route, because it is true....a decent coffee shop WILL attract customers..provide a secure bike area, some kind of entertainment and you are away, the roller comps sound a great idea...don't be put off, but think about the overall profit related to effort thing....3 or 4 hours coaxing/nurturing a sale on a £2000 bike might make you about £100 profit, after all your costs/time etc...a good coffee machine and 1 or 2 staff will do the same!!! Go for it!!!
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    But at the same time, cycling is a booming business right now in the UK, apparently thanks to Hoy, Olympics, Wiggins etc. or so we're led to believe ...
  • binkybike
    binkybike Posts: 104
    Some aspects of the trade could potentially be lucrative, if exploited in the right manner. I could probably make a living by combining wheel building with a cafe', but it takes you a minimum of one year to get to this position, provided you are already at a point where you can sell what you make.
    It is something we were toying with my wife last year, having a workshop and cafe'... problem is the location... for a workshop you want space, for a cafe' you do need space. For both you need a busy town/city... space in the right place costs money and even integrating the two, which is a cool idea, you still need a lot of space to be viable.
    The advantages of a workshop over a shop are in that you are not competing with internet trade and you don't have to buy lots of stock upfront.

    Zappi in Oxford is runnig a cafe'/bike shop... I have no idea how they are doing, but when I have been there it wasn't exactly heaving...

    Ugo, you have Richmond Park on your doorstep if you could capture the market of all those people that go round and around and around and around, you'd be minted!

    It is a massive undertaking though, and a great risk. If I was the OP I wouldn't take the chance unless I could afford for it to fail.

    Personally I never go to a cafe on a ride, but I suspect I am not usual as I almost always ride solo and after a long ride I just want to go home.
  • fatsmoker
    fatsmoker Posts: 585
    Good luck to you! If you do it, think about your opening hours. I often end up having to go to Halfords cos they are open til 8 on weekdays and i don't get back from my commute til 6, but which time my two LBSs have closed. Only if I'm 'lucky' enough to get a puncture on a Friday evening will I go to the LBS to get a new tube. More major bits I wait til the wekened and have the dude fit stuff that I buy from him.

    Surely not many people go to their LBS during the day on a weekday. Never understood the British thing about opening from 9 to 5. Open later, close later during the week and stay open on Sundays.
  • Bustacapp
    Bustacapp Posts: 971
    sprintkid wrote:
    Hello all, I need some feedback from some like minded people. I have been toying with the idea for some time now of opening a bike shop. A property that would be perfect for my dream shop has come vacant so I've decided to get some feedback on my idea. I want to open a shop with all the usual stuff you would find in any decent bike shop. Everything from high end road bike through to kids bikes. But along side the bike shop I would like to run a cafe for cyclists. A place for a club ride cake stop. Or just someone out on their bike who fancies a cool place to chill out. I'd have screens with cycling on them. But I'd also like to have evenings with some roller race events and stuff like that. The question is do the fine people out there think this would be the sort of shop they would use??? All feedback welcome :D

    If ever there is a time to open a bike shop, it is now!!
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,237
    binkybike wrote:
    Some aspects of the trade could potentially be lucrative, if exploited in the right manner. I could probably make a living by combining wheel building with a cafe', but it takes you a minimum of one year to get to this position, provided you are already at a point where you can sell what you make.
    It is something we were toying with my wife last year, having a workshop and cafe'... problem is the location... for a workshop you want space, for a cafe' you do need space. For both you need a busy town/city... space in the right place costs money and even integrating the two, which is a cool idea, you still need a lot of space to be viable.
    The advantages of a workshop over a shop are in that you are not competing with internet trade and you don't have to buy lots of stock upfront.

    Zappi in Oxford is runnig a cafe'/bike shop... I have no idea how they are doing, but when I have been there it wasn't exactly heaving...

    Ugo, you have Richmond Park on your doorstep if you could capture the market of all those people that go round and around and around and around, you'd be minted!

    It is a massive undertaking though, and a great risk. If I was the OP I wouldn't take the chance unless I could afford for it to fail.

    Personally I never go to a cafe on a ride, but I suspect I am not usual as I almost always ride solo and after a long ride I just want to go home.

    Yeah, but of course floor space in Richmond is charged accordingly. There is a Pop-up-Britain space just in front of the station one could have a shot at.

    You can't base the cafe solely around cyclists... it has to be a cool place to be regardless... the lot in lycra wouldn't be my first thought... those are the most avid Wiggle customers, unlikely to leave any money other than a cappuccino and a cake on a sunday morning. You need to work ontuesday afternoon as well... A big city gives you the great opportunity to be unique and have a market because of that.

    Whatever the OP decides to do, my advice is to stay out of the competition, by offering a service which is not available elsewhere. It is a slower pick-up, but a more sustainable business and one that can give more personal satisfaction, which is the ultimate goal
    left the forum March 2023
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    As far as cafe stops go, on our club rides they are usually in nice spots in the middle of nowhere and fairly cheap. I can't see us ever wanting to target a bike shop cafe because, if one existed in the right location with the right prices, it would be heaving with vast numbers of cyclists so would need to be big and with big parking.

    IMO, the problem with the LBS is not price but choice - it is very rare that the exact product I want is available locally though I do often try to use the LBS when I know that the object is available. Personally, I would only try opening a bike shop if I only needed to effectively break even on it. The likelihood of making more than a basic living out of it, if you are lucky, seems remote unless you have a lot of capital to set up something special.

    Ugo is right about the cost of the floor space. There are hot dog vans outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. They have a massive turnover and you'd think they'd make the owner rich but they are charged 100s of thousands of dollars for the licence to trade there; and that's fair because the value of the business is its location, not its product. If you want to make money out of a bike shop, own the property that the bike shop is renting.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • For my money (literally, if you're local to me), just one request.

    BE OPEN WHEN YOUR CUSTOMERS AREN'T AT WORK.

    There are now four LBSs between where I live and the nearest branch of Evans. I have to drive directly past one of them (a mere 10 mins walk from the house) in order to get to Evans. Evans gets most of my in-shop retail trade because, unlike the "local" ones, they are actually open.
    Mangeur
  • VTech
    VTech Posts: 4,736
    Ive started several quite successful business over the years and if its worth anything to you I have a few points.
    I am sure I will take some flack but its all vital if opening a store.

    1) Do you have an excellent credit rating ?
    2) Do you have money, by that I mean ready cash and credit as well as the ability to live without income for 3-6 months.
    3) Do you have youngsters ? you will need to work long, hard hours for several months to build the business so family life is going to have to take a huge backwards step.
    4) Do you have support from people with the skills you dont ? accounts, telephony, workshop, service providing etc etc.
    5) Do you have marketing knowledge ?
    6) Do you have a background people can aspire too ?

    Please dont take anything I write as a negative, you need to cover all bases because if you dont before, you will soon after. Of course you may be far better at most of the above than I am, I lack in so many sectors but this is why I work with people who have the skill-set and that makes success a much easier task to achieve.

    The fact food and beverage, sunday coverage etc are mentioned would say to me you have thought about it in the right way and have accepted that long hours and hard work are a must so thats all good. If I were to run a shop I would look for the following. (in no particular order)

    1) Main road frontage (with rear entrance for cyclists to enter the building).
    2) Ability to cook on site. (kitchen room)
    3) Links to local amenities, shops, busses, parks etc.
    4) Area for workshop with training room.
    5) Bike viewing area.
    6) Fitting rooms for clothing.
    7) Bike fit room.
    8) Stock room.
    9) Good light, large frontage to show the world what you offer.
    10) Good power sockets (what was the business before? did it have sockets around the shop to allow all that you need?)
    11) Neighbours, what businesses are next door, do they lend themselves well to your offering ? A massage parlour next door will stop parents bringing kids in cutting off vital revenue.
    12) Council, rates, are they a council that increase yearly or do they give breaks to new business ?
    13) Local trade and commerce, does your local council actively assist through trade and commerce? this can be vital in assisting you will travel expenses (visiting shows and exhibitions around the world to find new stock) as well as a host of other benefits.
    14) Can you make internal alterations ? many shops are box-like which doesnt tend to help people like yourself needing various sections for different parts of the business so making rooms and alterations may well be key.
    15) Local security, is the area safe ? if your in the middle of a crime ridden estate you have to ask how many people will want to come over on the weekend events you may run as they may be scared of local louts who may try to nick the bikes.
    16) Wheelchair access.

    Most of that will sound like normal common sense but excitement of opening a business is a known killer of common sense and you will be surprised at how many people miss the obvious. I have known people open a clothes store in a 1000sqft unit box. No room for stockroom, toilet, kitchen etc etc.
    Living MY dream.
  • Our LBS went under last month, after about 10 years of trading (i.e. depsite the whole bike boom thingy). I was reflecting on why that shop went under despite the boom, and despite the expansion of Evans, Edinburgh Bike co-op and other chains. I think that it was because the shop was relatively small and therefore limited to a few brands, which meant that whilst I used it for difficult workshop jobs (BBs, headsets), I never bought anything there except tape and tubes. I think that the traditional LBS business model is dead, in this day and age, and that the shops that do make money, do so from selling hybrids to people who know little about bikes, or through workshop services. The internet has seen to that. I am not sure what success a cafe/shop/workshop service might have.

    Best of luck anyway.
  • Strith
    Strith Posts: 541
    I’ve been considering doing something similar myself, but not in the UK. I’d echo what others have said in that I would forget about selling bikes and components. The market here in the UK is saturated with retailers both online and on the high street. I would focus more toward a coffee shop with some focus on cycling related services, particularly something different or not so easily available wherever you are.

    For once I agree with a lot of what Vtech has written, having seen my father build a business from scratch what Vtech says are all valid points, in particular the hard work and funding issues.

    In terms of what’s around look at look mum, no hands, big screen, food, coffee, bike servicing. It works well.

    One last thing, it’s going to be tough trying to make a living selling coffee and cakes to club run riders on the three sunny weekends a year we get in the UK, so think hard about your location and how you can entice people there.

    Good luck.
  • danlikesbikes
    danlikesbikes Posts: 3,898
    VTech wrote:
    Ive started several quite successful business over the years and if its worth anything to you I have a few points.
    I am sure I will take some flack but its all vital if opening a store.

    1) Do you have an excellent credit rating ?
    2) Do you have money, by that I mean ready cash and credit as well as the ability to live without income for 3-6 months.
    3) Do you have youngsters ? you will need to work long, hard hours for several months to build the business so family life is going to have to take a huge backwards step.
    4) Do you have support from people with the skills you dont ? accounts, telephony, workshop, service providing etc etc.
    5) Do you have marketing knowledge ?
    6) Do you have a background people can aspire too ?

    Please dont take anything I write as a negative, you need to cover all bases because if you dont before, you will soon after. Of course you may be far better at most of the above than I am, I lack in so many sectors but this is why I work with people who have the skill-set and that makes success a much easier task to achieve.

    The fact food and beverage, sunday coverage etc are mentioned would say to me you have thought about it in the right way and have accepted that long hours and hard work are a must so thats all good. If I were to run a shop I would look for the following. (in no particular order)

    1) Main road frontage (with rear entrance for cyclists to enter the building).
    2) Ability to cook on site. (kitchen room)
    3) Links to local amenities, shops, busses, parks etc.
    4) Area for workshop with training room.
    5) Bike viewing area.
    6) Fitting rooms for clothing.
    7) Bike fit room.
    8) Stock room.
    9) Good light, large frontage to show the world what you offer.
    10) Good power sockets (what was the business before? did it have sockets around the shop to allow all that you need?)
    11) Neighbours, what businesses are next door, do they lend themselves well to your offering ? A massage parlour next door will stop parents bringing kids in cutting off vital revenue.
    12) Council, rates, are they a council that increase yearly or do they give breaks to new business ?
    13) Local trade and commerce, does your local council actively assist through trade and commerce? this can be vital in assisting you will travel expenses (visiting shows and exhibitions around the world to find new stock) as well as a host of other benefits.
    14) Can you make internal alterations ? many shops are box-like which doesnt tend to help people like yourself needing various sections for different parts of the business so making rooms and alterations may well be key.
    15) Local security, is the area safe ? if your in the middle of a crime ridden estate you have to ask how many people will want to come over on the weekend events you may run as they may be scared of local louts who may try to nick the bikes.
    16) Wheelchair access.

    Most of that will sound like normal common sense but excitement of opening a business is a known killer of common sense and you will be surprised at how many people miss the obvious. I have known people open a clothes store in a 1000sqft unit box. No room for stockroom, toilet, kitchen etc etc.

    ^-^ Pretty spot on advice
    Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,237
    Our LBS went under last month, after about 10 years of trading (i.e. depsite the whole bike boom thingy). I was reflecting on why that shop went under despite the boom, and despite the expansion of Evans, Edinburgh Bike co-op and other chains. I think that it was because the shop was relatively small and therefore limited to a few brands, which meant that whilst I used it for difficult workshop jobs (BBs, headsets), I never bought anything there except tape and tubes. I think that the traditional LBS business model is dead, in this day and age, and that the shops that do make money, do so from selling hybrids to people who know little about bikes, or through workshop services. The internet has seen to that. I am not sure what success a cafe/shop/workshop service might have.

    Best of luck anyway.

    Some LBS are still stuck in the past. I have to build a set of wheels for a guy who has been trying to source some expensive hubs through his LBS... while you can get the item straightaway from Ribble, the shop has been unable to get them in over the past couple of months... they lack a wide range of trading accounts, which allow to have more than one source, in case one is out of stock and unwilling to restock in realistic time.
    This leads to biblycal times to get the stock in, lack of choice and obviously the internet becomes a lot more appealing
    left the forum March 2023
  • ooermissus
    ooermissus Posts: 811
    I wonder how much you could charge for buying bikes on people's behalf. Find out what riding you'll do, offer you options (including brands you may never have heard of), help you choose, get it delivered to the shop, assemble if necessary, do a fitting, first service etc.

    Judging by BR, people are desperate for advice and might be prepared to pay for it - especially if you built up relationship with them through the cafe side of things, word of mouth etc.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,237
    ooermissus wrote:
    I wonder how much you could charge for buying bikes on people's behalf. Find out what riding you'll do, offer you options (including brands you may never have heard of), help you choose, get it delivered to the shop, assemble if necessary, do a fitting, first service etc.

    Judging by BR, people are desperate for advice and might be prepared to pay for it - especially if you built up relationship with them through the cafe side of things, word of mouth etc.

    What you are suggesting is a consultancy service... most customers work in an office and what they don't want is some mid-management replacement who offer some certified advice in exchange for a fee
    left the forum March 2023
  • ooermissus
    ooermissus Posts: 811
    What you are suggesting is a consultancy service... most customers work in an office and what they don't want is some mid-management replacement who offer some certified advice in exchange for a fee

    Yeah you're probably right, though when I shop in my LBS as opposed to online, its mostly because I want advice - so there may be some way of making money out of that.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,237
    ooermissus wrote:
    What you are suggesting is a consultancy service... most customers work in an office and what they don't want is some mid-management replacement who offer some certified advice in exchange for a fee

    Yeah you're probably right, though when I shop in my LBS as opposed to online, its mostly because I want advice - so there may be some way of making money out of that.

    Not as such... you have to offer advice in combination with something else. Chain shops might have useless staff on the payroll, but that doesn't mean we need a consultant... I think we do need competent staff... that's why shops with competent staff do well
    left the forum March 2023
  • smidsy wrote:
    That is exactly the problem. I don't see why people are so obsessed at saving every little penny and not supporting your local economy and/or someone's shop. I think laziness plays a large part as well!

    You surely do not believe that.

    Come on, if you can get somehting the same but cheaper then any sane, rational person would.

    People work hard for their money and things are getting tighter and tighter so every pound saved is a blessing.

    Hobbies are expensive enough without paying more for something than you have to.

    I accept that local businesses need to thrive too but when online retailers supply what you want it is very difficult for them. Just look at HMV, Blockbuster, Comet etc etc.

    I do support my LBS as much as I can (always get tools, nuts, bolts, brake pads etc) and even pay them to true wheels and stuff, but I got my Basso at 50% reduction so I am sure as hell not going to pay full price down the LBS.

    OP - this debate is exactly why it is very difficult for a LBS and only affirms my earlier stance.

    Coffe, cakes and cycling related something, maybe, selling bikes and clothing is very very tough.

    That is very true, but sadly I do believe it. Every single generation in the history of the world says things are getting harder and harder, and that money is tighter than ever. I can understand that, but part of the problem why the economy is getting worse and worse is because people would rather save their extra x amount of money for themselves rather than thinking for the greater good. If people bought local that would stimulate the jobs market, open up new shops, and not just put the cash in the pocket of a few giants. Economies of scale is great, and that is why online faces thrive so well, but the truth is that it is doing more damage than good.

    These problems will always exist, but boosting your local economy is the only way things will improve. Shopping online just gives a few people a job in some warehouse, and does not really provide much benefit. The truth is online shopping has made the population very lazy, this effects work patterns, the economy, health and many other things. I just see shopping online differently than most people, probably because I am not solely focused on saving myself money whenever I can.

    I think it is great being able to go into shops, ask for help and they help me right then and there, I can ask them what they recommend for whatever the job is, and walk away with it that day in most cases. If I have to order it, oh well, still go through the shop. I don't have to deal with posting of items when a warranty claim is done, if something breaks on me I can get it switched out that day rather than waiting weeks, and I make buddies. I ride with my local shop simply because they are a great group of guys and girls, ride at times that fit me, and they have a great shop. None of these things are possible with the likes of CRC or Wiggle (to a certain extent, but you won't have people from Wiggle calling you inviting you for rides, or forming a friendship).

    Life is about so much more than saving money!