When I first met my husband back in 2014, I was submersed into the world of cycling (as a spectator for the most part). These guys (and gals) are some of the most passionate, live-for-the-sport kind of people I have ever met. Now, it was no surprise when I met the Cycle Culture Crew, they were quite on par with the rest of the cyclists I had already met. I've been the third (or fourth or fifth or sixth) wheel on many trips to the shop, and it didn't take long for me to see that their Crew isn't just passionate about cycling, they're passionate about serving the cycle community.
Here is what Adam from the Cycle Culture Crew had to say about business with COVID:
Tell us about your business and why you decided to open.
In the early Spring of 2013 a collective of us saw the opportunity to collaborate on a project we long talked about - opening a brick and mortar retail space catering to cyclists of all levels. A simple concept on the surface but truly a massive challenge to undertake. Our aim was not to carve out our own slice of the pie, but rather grow that pie. Cycling is a hobby, sport, and necessity for some - but we feel it can be impactful for all, not just a few. Our business was all about combining our individual expertise in specific areas to create an overall product in the very specific location of Tecumseh Ontario. We chose this community based on it's active residents, progressive town leadership, and access to urban and rural cycling routes. The goal was to refine our business practices within the town of Tecumseh in those early years with hopes that our valued services reached beyond town limits. Becoming a destination storefront helps define and validate the endless hours of work that go into our business.
What business was like before COVID-19?
We've been very fortunate to experience continued growth over 8 years of operation and the 2020 season was on track to be no different. That growth was most certainly born out of our goal to do a few limited things initially, but do them well. Our business model was hyper focused in the beginning of 2013 and it gave us control to expand products, services, and even our physical layout at a manageable rate. Our months of January and February of this year reaffirmed that the growth of cycling locally was on the rise and we were prepped to enter our typical busy season with heightened enthusiasm.
What has business been like since the outbreak of COVID-19?
We were one of the early adopters of really scaling back our business. On March 18th we chose to close the storefront and go to limited hours and appointment based sales and service only. We took cues from other small business owners who showed a similar understanding of how we all might be positive community stewards during this period. Though the bike industry to date has been fortunate enough to be given 'essential' status it's clear to us that we can not responsibly carry on with a business as usual approach. As such we've experienced a much expected drop in sales. Our customer base is figuring out how to communicate with their preferred businesses just as much as we're figuring out how to serve them. We're fully anticipating several months of decreased revenue but by no means will we have no revenue. The decision was certainly not easy given that our busy season was just about to get underway, but at this moment we're confident in the approach we're taking.
How will this impact your business long term?
The obvious downside will be an overall drop in sales for 2020. The upside is that it's a chance for many people to get introduced or reacquainted with cycling. The physical and mental benefits of exercising during a time like this are enormous. Cycling both indoors and outdoors are activities firmly rooted in improving ones overall well being. Given the opportunity to ride outdoors within all the guidelines of local health and safety officials is an incredible way to navigate our current situation in a positive manner. Long term I think this is a chance to increase participation in cycling and we're fully expecting a wave of new clients once we as a society are able to return to our pre-COVID way of interacting.
I think what's been striking is the contrast in which everyone processes this situation. We've had customers who certainly want things to carry on as normal, but really it feels like it's businesses responsibility to redirect those few and assure them that our temporary and precautionary measures are vital to a quicker resolution.
How can people help?
The best way people can help is by contacting us to help them. We're still available to answer any and all questions, and provide both service and sales within our new format of interaction. Our preferred method of communication is through email - email@example.com - It's a format which allows us to provide exacting information through specs, photos, and first hand write ups of products people might be interested in. We can help you choose products and accessories with clarity and save customers the time of in store browsing.
We're firm believers in the power that two simple wheels can provide. It's a fantastic way to interact with ones surroundings whether it's a ride around your neighborhood, a means of transportation, or a ride into new locations. Reaching out to your local bike shop is a perfect way to start the dialogue on how to best get you ready to #pushplayoutside.
~ Culture crew member Adam McClounie