Holy shit/Bike Shop lulz


#12961

Lulz is that 10 or 15 years or so ago, they expanded and remodeled to take the whole block. At that time there was serious talk about just tearing it all down and building a condo, with the shop as retail at ground level. There was an UPROAR from neighbors! Think of their precious views! Their precious neighborhood character! Then the financial crisis hit, so ixnay on the condo and proceed with the 2-story remodel.

As we know, in the intervening years at least 3 other tear-down/new condos went up. So the neighbors got their blocked views anyway, and when the shop finally falters there will be a condo in that spot too.


#12962

And in that time, the neighborhood has been upzoned from 3 stories to, I believe, 6 stories, so that effectively doubles the value of the land. Whoever builds there will have the last uninterrupted view of Greenlake and the Olympics, and possibly the Cascades. No one will ever be able to build in front of it, but the people who bought condos behind it are going to be really sad.

The property on which Spud (the old fish and chips shop) sits, which is basically little more than a side lot, just sold for $3m, and is being turned into (of course) Apodments. This property is what, 4 or 5 times that size…?


#12963

One of my local shops discounted a lot of their supply by 35% and didn’t see any significant movement. Then the shop started re-arranging a bunch of floor space, so they threw everything into a bunch of cardboard boxes on tables, keeping the 35% discount.

Turns out customers like to rummage for their deals. Sales increased dramatically (from what I was told).


#12964

It’s like the farmer who purposely sold dirty garlic to our grocery co-op. People bought the shit out the dirty stuff cuz it just looked MORE organic.


#12965

oh god. what city? must avoid.


#12966

Corporate buyers/higher ups from my old shop are texting me and asking me to work on their bikes because remaining mechanic lost his mind and isn’t working on their bikes.

One of them received his SB6 two weeks ago. He’s been waiting two weeks for a brake bleed. Hoses are already cut. I’m headed to his house Friday to finish the bike for him…sad. real sad. rad for me though.

This week in booze gifts. One bottle of Yamakazi 12 year whiskey brought from Japan for me. So good. So, so good.


#12967
 Motorbacon- 

are you employed by a single shop? Are you an independent contractor instead?

I’m wondering if one way out of the low pay / dead end of wrench work is to treat the shop job as an apprenticeship, build a client base that looks to you, not your shop, for expertise, and then hang out a shingle. You could still do contract work for shops, but could market your skills independently and take on your own client list.

I don’t know the industry, maybe there are some strong structural reasons this isn’t a common practice, I’m just wondering how it would work to formally break off mechanical work from shop employment.


#12968

That is essentially what Gordon Yeager from Velo Hangar did. He’s regarded as one of the best wrenches in southern California and he built up his clientele and opened up a small shop in an old auto shop, until that building was sold and now operates out of a shipping container he bought. He does not sell bikes/frames, only a curated selection of accessories, nutrition, and select parts and then works on bikes.


#12969

That model does seem to make some sense and has some precedent in the musical instrument world. I take my saxophones and clarinets to two different guys who run repair shops with a tiny selection of high end accessories. Both are one-man operations and both can charge a premium because those who know the difference know they’re worth it and keep them booked constantly.

They both used to work for the same music store back in the day, before striking out to form their own separate businesses. Most of the woodwind retail stores (including that one) in the bay area have shut down, but they are doing fine.

Another of the biggest woodwind stores in the area, a total institution, just shut down its storefront and announced they would be focusing entirely on repairs and rentals. Their work isn’t top notch, but it’s priced fairly and they do good business with the school districts.

Musical instruments are another difficult business and it wouldn’t surprise me if the independent repair person became more of a thing in the bike world.

Have any of you in the bay area seen the beeline vans out there? That seems like an interesting way to do things.


#12970

We have two VeloFix vans out here. The concept is interesting, but anyone can get one of those franchises running. Since there is no barrier for entry for mechanics, there’s no guarantee what kind of service you are going to get. If someone like Mathias was going to do it, I’m sure it would be lucrative for him because he’s a great wrench with a following. However, he doesn’t need to pay money as a franchisee for someone to book his appointments. The only advantage I see is that Beeline/VeloFix already have the dealer channels in place.


#12971

Velofix must have some sort of standard for mechanics? Seems like a risky move letting anyone with a couple grand and a Park master set drive around in a van with the Velofix name. Dunno how they could ever enforce that, wonder if anyone has lost a franchise?


#12972

Some velofix franchisee in minneapolis follows me on instagram; had no idea it was a national franchise


#12973

Nope, no standard. They want “certified” mechanics, but they’re a startup, so they’ll take basically anyone. In that sense, it’s not much different that the bike shop world. None of the genuinely great mechanics I know are certified, except is specific areas like Fox suspension or DT Swiss Wheelbuilding. I think a franchise runs close to $50k, when everything is said and done, so obviously it does not serve a smart owner to just throw some tools at the village idiot and hope for the best.

The SF Velofix pays I think like $25/hour, so I assume that they don’t have a whole lot of trouble attracting top talent.

The main advantage Velofix has over going solo is definitely the dealer channel. If you cannot order parts from QBP, then you’re nearly dead in the water, unless you can get some kind of glad hand shit going with a neighborhood shop (and why would they help you with that?). After that, you get a fully outfitted vehicle, and most importantly - a decent online booking system.

Incidentally, Beeline was just bought by the Accel Group.


#12974

[quote=Tail Hook Lengthener]
The main advantage Velofix has over going solo is definitely the dealer channel. If you cannot order parts from QBP, then you’re nearly dead in the water, unless you can get some kind of glad hand shit going with a neighborhood shop (and why would they help you with that?). [/quote]

Right, that answers my question of why there aren’t more independent mechanics. No store, no qbp:

I bet they change their tune if ibds keep closing.


#12975

In the bottom drawer of Steve Flagg’s desk sits a little red emergency button, encased in glass, which when pressed immediately switches QBP over to some kind of regular consumer site. Beside it sits a Surly flask, from which he will sip while muttering “God help us all.”


#12976

Its filled with

white whiskey


#12977

[quote=Tail Hook Lengthener]And in that time, the neighborhood has been upzoned from 3 stories to, I believe, 6 stories, so that effectively doubles the value of the land. Whoever builds there will have the last uninterrupted view of Greenlake and the Olympics, and possibly the Cascades. No one will ever be able to build in front of it, but the people who bought condos behind it are going to be really sad.

The property on which Spud (the old fish and chips shop) sits, which is basically little more than a side lot, just sold for $3m, and is being turned into (of course) Apodments. This property is what, 4 or 5 times that size…?[/quote]

This city is absolutely fucking bonkers right now. At some point I’m going to lose my sweet office in Ballard because the building got bought and the new owner wants to renovate and double the rent. Been looking at coworking spaces as realistically that’s probably all my company will be able to afford. I saw one today that wants $500/mo for a desk. That’s $125 more a month than I paid for a studio apartment in Belltown in 2001.


#12978

[quote=iwillbe][quote=Tail Hook Lengthener]
The main advantage Velofix has over going solo is definitely the dealer channel. If you cannot order parts from QBP, then you’re nearly dead in the water, unless you can get some kind of glad hand shit going with a neighborhood shop (and why would they help you with that?). [/quote]

Right, that answers my question of why there aren’t more independent mechanics. No store, no qbp:

I bet they change their tune if ibds keep closing.[/quote]
Not only that, they’ll send a rep out to scout your location and shop before actually signing you as a dealer. If you don’t meet their standard of a real ‘shop’ you don’t get an account. I can’t remember the standards anymore but it’s a not so small checklist.


#12979

:bear: :bear: :bear:


#12980

:bear: :bear: :bear:[/quote]