Hey Cris,

We had a similar problem when we started selling cheap bicycles. When we told our LBS who we were and what we were doing one of their employees became pretty put-off by us and we got bad vibes whenever we went in. However, we weren't getting parts at cost at that point. To be completely honest with you our LBS (there's only one) never actually came out and told us they felt threatened so it could have all been in our minds, but for a while we definitely considered ourselves in competition with them.

But once we thought about it, they cater to a completely different audience than we do. They sell high-end, new bicycles to relatively high-paying recreational customers. The people who shop there will probably never step foot in our doors (at least until we get a bigger, cleaner, more organized and accommodating space). Likewise, the "customers" of our collective never even knew of the LBS, let alone possessed the kind of money to shop there. So, fundamentally, we really don't take any business away from them.

Also, once that employee left, the feelings of animosity sort of fell by the wayside. We actually became pretty close friends with the head mechanic and the owner and they've helped us out a number of times. Whenever we hold events we take a handful of their business cards and some of their stickers and hand them out to people who attend. Also, when someone comes to us looking for a new part or something we can't provide, we refer them to the LBS. I think this has helped form a good relationship between us and our LBS, and though we don't exactly get parts at cost, we do now get heavy discounts.

There are a few things that would definitely sabotage this relationship, and one would be selling the few things we do provide at a substantially lower cost than they do, like tubes, patch kits, tire levers, etc. I'm sure this can become enticing if you find a way to get them super cheap, like a supplier, but since we get the parts from our LBS (discounted, but not at cost) it hardly makes sense to charge cheaper than they. So however you do obtain these items, don't sell them cheaper than your LBS, or at least don't sell them cheaper to the general public. That's one way to directly compete with them, and a bad way at that.

Hope this helps,

Drew Gatlin
Back In The Saddle Bike Collective

On Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 5:05 PM, Cris Shirley <cgshirley@gmail.com> wrote:
So we are starting a bike collective in New Haven, and had the support
of our local bike shop Devil's Gear Bikes where the owner said that he
would provide parts at cost and help us out on stuff.  Well, now he is
feeling treaten because he thinks we might start moving in a direction
that may in competition with him (right now we need some start up
money so we are going to fix up and sell some of the bikes we have.)
Note that we have not given one bike away yet.  So, I was wondering if
anyone had any experiences of this sort and how they were managed?
How do y'all get parts for bikes like cables and tubes and tires, and chains?

On 2/25/08, Edward France <edfrance@bicicentro.org> wrote:
> Bike Peeps - Thought about taking a weekend out in Santa Barbara?
> This is the perfect time, and we'll do our best to find hosting for
> cooks, clerks, wrenches, and other forms of shop creatures that travel
> out to celebrate with us.
> Save the Date-
>                  Dia de Bici Cultura- the Grand Opening of Bici
> Centro's new retail/educational/shop space in Santa Barbara. April 5th
> will mark the event with Bike Art, Bike People and Bike Fun, BBQ,
> evening reception with dinner, and a night ride.
> After a year of once monthly repair days, months of once weekly shop,
> and infinite hours of shuffling around our stuff to serve in a modular
> manner, Bici Centro finds its own 1,200 sq ft. space. We've got our
> youth Earn-a-bike churning out bikes and biking kids, community
> support, and a solid core of 15 volunteers working to get SB cycling
> in style.
> A more detailed invite to be sent out this week.
>  <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/xrudolfx/2285845544/'
>  title='Bicicentroopening by xRUDOLFx, on Flickr'><img
>  src='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2366/2285845544_744700953e_b.jpg'
>  width='1024' height='775' alt='Bicicentroopening' /></a>
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