One of the benefits of winter’s slower pace is the opportunity to reflect and implement changes. Last fall we spent time dreaming of ways we could improve the shop with the goal of taking customer experience and efficiency to the next level. The result was a major remodel and reorganization of the back of the store.
The most visible change to the shop is a wall that now separates the sales floor from the service area. We have been asked by many customers if the wall was built to keep customers from interacting with the service staff. Most are surprised to hear the answer is no, we love our customers and are happy to interact with you. Here’s the real reason.
The wall allows us to use more of the service stands in the back for repairs and to improve the flow of bikes through the store. In the summer the service area often became a traffic jam and at least one stand always had to be left open to check in bikes. There was also some dead space that often collected bikes which eventually blocked product. By moving the check-in area out of the back we gained more work space and created a clear flow for bikes entering and leaving service.
The secondary reason was aesthetics. The service area is a functional space but not always the most presentable space. By creating a separation the store looks much cleaner and less crowded. We also reduced the number of bikes we display in the center of the store to help with this goal.
Service Writer Station and Bar
Outside of the wall we built a workstation specifically for writing service. When designing this area we spent a lot of time thinking about the customers experience. What would we want? A place to relax, things to look at, possibly something to drink or eat. We’ve accomplished the place to relax with a comfy couch and custom stools from Sam Mclellan of FeAl Metal Design. As for things to look at, a large flat-screen will be playing cycling related content and displaying our service menu. Munchies are something we are working on, stay tuned as we have some cool ideas in the works.
Sustainable and Reclaimed Materials
More and more we are factoring sustainability into our decisions at the shop. This project was no exception. For a bar top and work bench we used live edge slabs of elm and maple from West Traverse Farm. These slabs were sourced locally from scavenged trees and milled at the farm just outside Harbor Springs. They were finished using ultra-low VOC finishes from Vermont Natural Coatings.
As you might be able to guess by looking at the wall, we got really good at breaking down pallets and turning the boards into usable pieces. There’s a strong DIY energy among our staff and this project was a great way to put it to use. We are all really proud of the result; something cool we made ourselves using materials that would otherwise be discarded.
Last year we did a highlight stand for the mountain bike area and used pallet wood as the sheathing. We loved the look (yes we know it’s trendy) and it was a major inspiration for the style of our additions this year. We also found that the highlight stand was much easier to shop so we built two more this year.
This time the focus is gravel and adventure bikes, another growing category that many riders are looking at. We used crank arm mounted bicycle stands so the focus would really be on the bikes. We will be adding pea stone to the top of these stands as soon as the weather warms up.
Organization, Cleaning, and New Tools
We also saw this remodel as an opportunity to do a solid clean of the service area, add more tool storage, and improve our merchandising. I won’t go into much detail about cleaning, lets just say it was overdue. Merchandising went great, check out this sexy wall of Park Tool!
We added two new rolling tool boxes and a whole wall of peg board in the back room. This allowed us to better organize our specialty tools, many of which were on shelves or in stacks (some we didn’t even know about!). Additionally, we took stock of what we had and purchased several new tools to make servicing press fit BB bearings and suspension easier.
We hope you enjoyed this look at what we’ve been up to. With these improvements we are ready to take your service experience to the next level. Stop in soon and see it for yourself!