What happened to summer…?
Wow! It’s halfway through September, another Interbike trade show is in the books and 2015 products are already starting to grace our showroom floor. Where did the last 4 months go? For anyone that’s actually following this blog (Mom), you can see that I have failed at my promise to contribute on a weeklyish basis as I had initially hoped. Well, with all the day to day tasks that it takes to run a bike shop during high season, the blogging simply got bounced down the priority list by matters that needed more immediate attention. Well here we are, it’s 4:30am (I can’t sleep) and the house is quite so I’ll ramble a bit…
The last time I posted was back in April when we were still buzzing from the whole Lance thing and our season was just kicking into full speed. A lot have happened since then but the biggest news is that we were able to expand the shop back in May. The whole process started about this time last year, it was getting pretty crowded here at the shop and we started to think about how we were going to deal with it. Our inventory had been slowly growing to the point where we had too much stuff crammed into too tight a space and something had to change. We could simply cut back and stop stocking certain items. We even thought seriously for about building some sort of loft space but realized pretty quickly that it would be sketchy and impractical. Also, we’re in a multi-year lease and we like our location so moving wasn’t really an option. The only and best option left was to somehow expand in our existing space… but how? There were no vacancies in our building. eventually I started looking at our neighbors, the hair salon that had a nice big space and wondered if they’d be willing to give up some of their square footage. The salon is run by two women who at this point I only knew from the occasional nod and wave as we’d pass in the parking lot and the idea of asking/suggesting that they downsize so that we could have more space was terrifying as I had no idea how they’d respond to the notion. But there were few options on the table for us and there was enough of a chance that they might be into the idea that I had to at least give it a try. So one day back around February with a box of donuts in hand, I mustered the courage to go and broach the subject with them. Well to make a long story short, they were at first quite surprised and I think a little offended at my suggestion but after letting them sit on it for a few days, they came to agree that it might be good for them. They admitted that they might in fact be in more space than they needed and cutting their overhead would certainly be a huge benefit to their bottom line. As I said, I was absolutely terrified that they would see me as the a-hole just trying to push another business out and take over their place but they were awesome about it and within a few days of dialog we were set on a positive and mutually beneficial course. Of course I still had to strike a deal with the landlord, find a contractor and line out a hundred other small and large details but in my mind the biggest hurdle of getting my neighbors on board had been accomplished.
So as March rolled into April, all the little pieces began to fall into place and the work began. Of course by now the season was getting into full swing but luckily we were able to keep most of the dirty work contained in the new space while we operated in our existing space mostly undisturbed. That is, until the sledgehammer came out. Yes, there was the small matter of busting though a concrete block wall to joined the old and new spaces and for two days we did our best to conduct the day to day business with that sledge hammer methodically smashing away about 10 feet away from the cash register. The crew and I just about went crazy during all that and if I could do it again, I would probably have closed for those two days but somehow we got through it (sorry about that guys and thanks for not mutinying). But aside from those few days of complete mayhem, the rest of the project went surprisingly smoothly and quickly. The Santa Fe Century is in mid May and is always our busiest week. This year it occurred in conjunction with the inaugural Outside Bike and Brew Festival which made for a double whammy of bike related madness in Santa Fe and with impeccable timing and a fair share of good luck, all the pieces fell into place such that the last bit of paint to finish the remodel and expansion was applied just two days before the festivities kicked off.
So after busting our butts for all of April and most of May, we were able to spread out into the extra space that we had needed so badly. The effect was immediately positive as we suddenly had more room to work in and more space for all the stuff. While we stayed very busy through the rest of the summer, we had gotten over a major crux and settled into a nice groove for the next few months. Yes, some days were absolutely nuts as is the case in most bike shops during the height of summer but for the most part we seemed to cruise with a new level of calmness and order that I think the extra space allowed. Of course if I asked the rest of the crew they might have a totally different opinion of how the last few months went but hey, we made it through another summer and while things haven’t really started to slow down yet, they are sure to soon and hopefully we’ll all get a chance to ride our bikes a bit more before it gets too cold. After all, that is what it’s all about and fall is best time of year to do it around here. Oh, and if you haven’t seen the shop in it’s new incarnation don’t think I’m gonna post any pictures, You’re just gonna have to get on down here and see for yourself 😉
Thanks for reading and happy trails,