BikeBiz is calling it a case of putting his foot in his mouth, but if bike retail in the UK is anything like the USA, maybe Raleigh UK managing director Mark Gouldthorp's recent comments should serve as a wake up call and opportunity for improvement. Instead, the UK bike retail industry group shot back at Gouldthorp noting that nearly 80% of bikes sold in the UK are through the independent retail channel.
Gouldthorp recently was quoted in the Guardian newspaper saying, "“Independent retailing in the UK is a shambles. It is real Steptoe and Son (the UK inspiration for the US "Sanford and Son" show) stuff. If you want to imagine the typical independent bike dealer, he is 50-60, highly cynical, miserable, moaning, scruffy. That’s my customer."
In spite of Gouldthorp's apparent views on his retailers, Raleigh UK is profitable and growing in sales. Read more at Bike Biz.
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It's funny - that description nails the owner of the shop I go to most often, but doesn't capture the fact that shopping there (and dealing with quirks) is still a better deal than going anywhere else. He's a little crusty but knows his stuff and now that I've become a regular we chat and laugh and have a decent time. The only truly independent shop I've been to that's different is a collective in Berkeley CA, which was the youngish hippies you would expect at a bike collective in Berkeley.
Emailed that to my 60-yo bike shop guy who thought it was pretty accurate, though he's only moderately-highly cynical, and he doesn't moan *that* often, and endeavors not to be miserable. And yea, the key is to be a groupie :) Even scruffy moaners have egos and cheer up with positive feed back :)
Ah, that so mirrors my experience. I even commented about a similar experience in a recent trip to the LBS. I've yet to find that elusive 'feel good' experience in a bike shop, but I've resolved to look further afield to find one. Right now, I've only myself to blame for not doing so. Nice to know it's not a local thing though.