LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. (BRAIN) — The National Bicycle Dealers Association has decided to widen its membership to include mobile-only operators.
“The NBDA works to represent the best in bicycle retail, and including the best in mobile operators is a natural extension of that goal,” said Brandee Lepak, the NBDA’s chair. “Although mobile operators have a lower overhead than many of our traditional brick-and-mortar storefront operators, they also have a larger footprint, which can translate well to underserved retail markets such as rural communities.”
Scott Chapin, a bicycle industry risk specialist with Marsh & McClennan Agency in Minneapolis, sees a lot more mobile bike shops starting, many run by people with experience as lead mechanics at IBDs. “Obviously, this can be considered a threat to the retailer as they are losing their head mechanic,” Chapin notes. “Since the overhead is super-low, it is pretty easy for these mechanics to do this. Many of these mechanics are purchasing a small enclosed trailer and/or cube van to do the work in. If the job is too complex, they will bring the bike ‘home’ or to their garage.”
Some mobile operators are franchisees, some are operating in partnership with an established brick-and-mortar stores, while others are …read more