Most shop owners, whatever their ilk, would probably be upset if someone selling the same stuff moved in a block away. Fortunately for Bicycle Experience’s Todd Hood and Bubba “Blaze” Hayes, they’re only in competition with themselves.
“Now we have a boutique,” said Hood, from the newest Bicycle Experience shop at the Ivywild School. That store is shouting distance from the original on Tejon, which Hood purchased last February with Hayes, a former big-rig driver.
“I was talking with Mike Bristol [owner of Bristol Brewery,] and he said there was probably something bicycle-oriented going into this space,” Hood, a retired Army veteran, said. “We’ve only been open since December over here and I think we’re doing pretty good. People look at us as the new store in town. But we’re not really a new store. We’ve expanded. … We needed more room.”
Hood said the newest shop has seen quite a bit of pedestrian traffic thanks to its Ivywild location.
The new shop is stocked wall-to-wall with bikes ranging from road to trail, BMX to fat, and a little electric sprinkled in.
“Today, there are so many options. It’s hard to know what people want,” Hood said.
“Our main goal is to stock a little of what everyone’s looking for. Some days we’ll have 100 different kinds of bikes on the rack and not have something somebody wants and have to do a custom order.”
Hood said 27.5-inch-wheel bikes are popular nowadays and fat bikes sell well in the winter, while commuter bikes and road bikes have seen a slip in sales this year.
“Road bike sales are down,” he added. “People wait on those until the previous year’s models are on sale.”
Hood said customers run the gamut, from college kids looking for a cheap ride to weekend warriors and hardcore race teams.
“Some people will buy a $100 bike and fix it up and be totally stoked about it and it lasts them forever,” Hood said. “And we have bikes in stock that will run $5,000.”
Hood said the more service-focused location at 1601 Tejon is as busy as ever, and now they have the room to handle overflow service needs and to sell more product.
“We’re more full-service at the old location. Here [at Ivywild] we’re less service-oriented, but we’re always working on and building bikes. We sell higher end bikes here and the [Tejon] location sells mostly bikes that cost less than $1,000.”
Hood said the most common service Bicycle Experience provides is fixing flats on the fly.
“There aren’t a lot of bike shops where you can go in and tell them you need something fixed now,” he said. “We’ll try and attack it if it’s something we can fix right away.”
As for marketing, the shops rely heavily on social media to introduce new merchandise and Hood and Hayes sponsor local amateur race teams, which helps with brand recognition.
“We sponsor three BMX teams and a mountain bike team,” Hood said. “They’re all out of Colorado Springs and they’re all amateur riders. It’s pretty grassroots. We’ll go to BMX tracks and see a ton of kids wearing our jerseys.”
The Bicycle Experience is also involved with the nonprofit Kids on Bikes, which, according to its Facebook page: “… [provides] access to rideable bikes, empower[s] kids and families in bike safety and create[s] a healthy community that explores neighborhoods, parks and trails together.”
Hood said the staff was doing its part to help Kids on Bikes meet those goals, as mechanics were in the process of building 23 bikes to donate to the organization.
Hood said making a living selling bikes isn’t easy, especially here.
“Colorado Springs is tough,” he said. “There are a lot of bike shops in this town. You really have to wow people with what’s different.
“There’s not a huge [profit] margin here. We’re not making a ton of money from each sale. You don’t get rich in the bike industry unless you’re the bike company. We’re the guys in the trenches.” nCSBJ