Response to “Neuvation Cycling” post.

Although this is a response to the Neuvation video posted here on March 14, which is related to my business directly, I believe it applies to all local businesses.

I want to start by saying the video is accurate. Now that you all know my 
margins and those of my suppliers…awkwardness…(maybe it wasn’t such a well kept secret anyway). That said, there’s good deals to be had online. True, I’ve purchased them myself and still do. However,  since becoming a local business owner there’s a bigger picture I’ve come to know. The biggest part is the fact that if I don’t support the local businesses they may not be there when I need them.

“So why spend more at your local business than you would online?”

-Who can give you better, faster, and in-person warranty service?
-Who can provide the final quality control before the product is in your hands?
-Who has the expertise to assemble the item you’re purchasing when 
you may not know how, or have the tools?
-Who do you call to ask about problems or technical questions with the 
items you own?
-Who do you go “up town” to, when you need that item now, not in 4 to 6 
weeks?
-Who can you shake hands with and feel like your dealing with someone 
you trust?
-Who might be waving as they walk past your house with their family, or are attending the same church, or have their kids in the same school, or bump into you at the mall, or are coming over for dinner, or will be riding bike next to you on Saturday mornings?
-Who’s more likely to give when you ask for money to support your 
fundraiser, event, or club?
-Who pays local taxes (Who, together with you, payed for the schools your kids go/went to, or the streets and roads you ride that bike on?), employs locals (someone you know works locally), promotes your community, and other local businesses in your country, province, municipality, and town?
-Who would you like to see frequenting your (or your parent’s, friend’s, sibling’s, child’s) local business?

ANSWER: Your local business owners.

I’m grateful for local businesses like Shopper’s Drug Mart, Sobey’s, 
and Safeway because they supported the Sandilands MTB race last year.
I’m grateful for Southeast home center when I need “that light bulb” 
right away, and I can just run over there.
I’m grateful for Powerland, and E-bytes computers when my computer 
needs fixing NOW and they’re just across or down the street.
I’m grateful for the SCU because they’re so close, convenient, and 
get me lots of foot traffic.
I’m grateful for Friesen Machine when I need a stuck seatpost 
removed by someone who will give a free smile with the deal. Pete’s “the man”.

I’m grateful for Access Mobility, Source for Sports, and others that 
send customers my way when they don’t have “that part” in stock.
I’m grateful for all the local business owner’s I’ve come to know 
because they all want me to make it and they prove it by shopping in my store too (and I try to practice what I preach by seeing these business 
owners first, before I make that purchase online).
Most of all I’m grateful for my customers (including everyone from MIT) and hopefully I can “repay” them with the service that ONLY a local business can.

Don’t take my word for it:  Call some of the major bike brands and ask why they ONLY sell through local bike shops and not online (most of them do not sell online).

Read this article: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/mountain_biking/53515/1

“What can we buy online with a clear conscience?”

In my opinion (whatever that’s worth): Hard to find used goods, new items not available locally, or things the local stores can’t come close to in price even after you give them a chance and you honestly can’t afford the difference. Or whatever your own conscience decides is OK.

Do you like to support the global economy? Buy these bikes online and I’ll be just as happy as if you bought from me: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/video/article300101.ece?vxChannel=World+News&vxClipId=2115_090116-09035MMV71061_TEN

Business is good thanks partly to all of you MIT riders. I will survive if 
people buy online sometimes. I, like most bike shop owners have chosen this career not for financial wealth (that’s very rare for local bike shop owners despite those “outrageous” margins ;).  I gladly took a large pay cut compared to the career I had before (and could still have), to do something I love. I’m not going to bite anyone’s head off for buying their bikes etc. from other places or online (trying to convince others to shop online may get you a nibble though;). I also don’t want any of you to be tormented by your conscience while riding your bike or bringing your bike in to me for repair if it was not bought locally (well, maybe a little?). I just needed to get that off my chest.

What are your thoughts? Am I out of line, missing the true big picture, or over sensitive?

4 thoughts on “Response to “Neuvation Cycling” post.

  1. Thanks for calling me to discuss this Patrick. That was thoughtful and classy. Would that I had been just as thoughtful before posting the link to Neuvation’s video. I do apologize for the insensitivity. Just so everyone knows, Patrick and I are “ok” and there will be no fist-i-cups at the next ride!

    This is a fascinating discussion and I’d like to add a few comments. Personally I think there’s room for both on-line retailers and local business. They both reach certain needs. Often, for the same customer. Some of the on-line sites that I’ve shopped are just websites for other LBS’s in other small towns. I know two people with on-line home based businesses in Steinbach. So, we all benefit from their e-commerce dollars being invested back in our community. It’s a global marketplace. That’s a current reality. If sales outside of the local market didn’t exist, Steinbach would dry up and blow away (i.e. Loewen, Biovail, Big Freight, SCU, Ledingham, Hytek, etc, etc). The concept of local is hard to define these days when so many business rely on an international marketplace. I’ll grant you that Body Driven is a micro-business very dependent on the local economy. However, I think an LBS like Body Driven could also go on-line with re-branded wholesale frames if they had a desire to pursue the business model. That’s the marketplace and there’s room for everybody with good business instincts and a work ethic (like Patrick and so many others in Steinbach).

    With regard to this specific product, high-end carbon road bikes with top components, I doubt that any LBS in Steinbach will ever be very reliant on that niche market (just a guess). Anyways, I am unlikely to purchase much product on-line (I’ve done it a couple of times and the $ saved were just too marginal versus the inconvenience, the currency exchange, the brokerage fees, the shipping fees, etc). However, when it comes to saving 40% or more on a $3,000 to $4,000 bike, well, I’ve got to give it consideration. So, I am interested in sourcing information about those kinds of options and sharing it with my cycling buddies. However, in the future, I’ll chose to do that less publicly and more sensitively towards the LBS.

    All that aside, Body Driven is fantastic to have in Steinbach and we would be all the poorer as a community if we didn’t support it. I appreciate your points Patrick and you can count on my continued business.

    Cheers,

    RJ

  2. bravo, patrick. people (like me) who work in the public sector too often forget who actually puts the bread on their table. i think it’s great to have young entrepreneurs like you setting up shop in downtown steinbach and i wish you continued success.

  3. I also want to thank Patrick for his awesome service – having someone so knowledgeable right in our back yard is something I hope we don’t take for granted.

  4. I like others have bought online and sold online, mostly used stuff on Ebay. There is one thing I have grown to appreciate though. The personal service that you get when you deal with local business. I shop locally now when I can and when the local business has what I need. Yes, there is a place for the online shopping and the deals that may be had. I will still pursue those deals when they are worth pursuing. I can tell you when it comes to bikes and service Body Driven is bar none the best. Pat is a rare breed! He will talk you out of buying something if you don’t need it. He will fix what needs fixing at a reasonable price and do it right the first time. That is a rarity these days! Unless Pat doesn’t sell the bike or part I want he has my business and support. I have seen too many local businesses fall by the wayside because it’s “cheaper” somewhere else. So save your gas money and instead of driving to Winnipeg to get it, get it here. Hey, it’s better for the environment too!

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