Is there a wide-spread issue that shops will have to close and lose a lot of 'business' in order to attend Bike!Bike! ? I know the first year we attended - in Pittsburgh - we ended up closing the shop, but we were only open 2 days a week and thus only missed one day of operating. Now we have enough volunteers and enough resources that 2 or 3 people can leave for the conference and we can continue to operate during their absence.
either way, Bike!Bike! is such an important learning and sharing and growing experience that smaller shops especially should weigh the benefits of attending, even if it means they have to close for a few days.