Read Full Article (scroll to #3).
“The gang at Proteus goes out of its way to make every customer—from the first-time commuter on up to hardcore cyclocross racers—feel like family. It’s evident in the Thursday night potluck dinners, the cozy couch and pellet stove setup, and the helpful (some would say nagging) signs posted around the 40-year-old shop that remind you to “eat your vegetables” and “call your mother.” Originally begun as a custom bike and frame builder, Proteus is now a full-service shop dedicated to promoting bicycling as a way of life. They do it by hosting group rides, teaching cyclists how to maintain and fix their rides and with custom fittings that help their patrons fall in love with riding all over again. “Proteus feels like home,” wrote one customer. And, frankly, we’re not surprised.”
Here’s a quote from the full story:
“In addition to casting votes, you left over 1,500 comments telling us what exactly it is you love about your local bike shop. There were short notes of praise; long, detailed narratives of being bailed out by a genius mechanic or a free loaner; and even a few thinly-veiled love letters. As we read through them, we noticed recurring themes. You want to be taken seriously by your bike shop, whether you’re a Cat. 1 racer or an octogenerian who no longer hits the singeltrack or rides at night. You want a bike mechanic who will fix your problem, and maybe even show you how to fix it yourself the next time around—and without condescending to you. You want to see your salespeople out bombing the local trails on the same suspension they recommend to you. You don’t want to be unnecessarily upsold, when a simple repair will suffice. You want a shop that cares, above all, about getting butts on saddles.”
Overall, it was some great, really heart-warming stuff you said. Things like, “This is a REAL bike shop. Unpretentious, but has terrific products. The staff are very knowledgeable and down-to-earth.” And “Honest, friendy and helpful. When in the store I feel like one of the employees. Or, like part of a family.” If you’re not already telling them this in person, we recommend you do.
Because here’s the hard truth. Running an independent local bike shop ain’t easy. In fact, according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA), the number of dealers nationwide is at an all-time low, and the number is dropping every year, from a high of more than 8,000 in the early 1980s to barely half that in 2012. We all know the story: it’s tough for Main Street shops to compete with the information—and e-commerce—superhighway that is the Internet. And a global economy means competing with bigger businesses even farther afield. That means that a full 70% of bike shops go broke within their first three years. That’s why it’s so important that we patronize local bike shops, and why it’s so incredible that these fine stores are succeeding. But we know why, don’t we?”