I moved the store down here May of 2013. The store used to be downtown on pretty good and busy corner. At the time I was not looking to move but this building became available. It was a picture frame shop the owner built in 1989. But the owner was retiring and looking to sell. I didn’t buy it, I rent.
Moving down here was a gamble. The rent is way more expensive. Beside being almost double the square footage its in the tourist section of town. Right across the river from Blue Harbor Resort. Im right on the boardwalk along the river that’s lined with shops and restaurants. Fishing boats parked right outside. Anyone who visits Sheboygan ends up down here. Its only four blocks away from the old store but might as well be a hundred miles.
People always asked if the move was good. This is something you can’t answer correctly for several years. Time will tell I said to them. Well, its been over two years now and I will say Im glad I made the move but for maybe not the reason you think.
As far as bike shop go, this is not a prime location. That would be in a busy mall or closer to a major highway or street. In fact, in the retail world this building is far from desirable. Its pretty well hidden along the riverfront. All the buildings down here are monitored by the city to all blend in. You need approval to paint or put up any signage. So you can’t stick out. Not the best for any retail. As far as a bike store go’s, the only shot in the arm I got moving down here was the rentals tripled and that was expected and worked into the business plan.
Nobody visiting the area walks past and just pops in to buy a Madone. So the location did not increase sales in that respect. But on the other hand, it’s a good looking building, has great free parking and looks higher end once inside and there’s something to be said for that.
But still, almost doubling my monthly rent was a gamble most business owners would not take. So am I selling more stuff down here? I think I am. Numbers are up for sure but sometimes its hard to determine if its a trend or a direct result from the building. So in that respect I’ll call it both.
But all in all, the move was a success because I really like it down here. Its so much better coming to work every morning down by the river. I could care less if there was not a monetary gain, its the gain in quality of life that I measure. Its so much nicer being down here in almost every way. Im happy to be here. And you really need to like a building if you have to spend a majority of your life in it. Its like a second house to me.
This weekend is the 4th Holiday. Down here its like all the Holidays rolled into one. The city’s Saturday nite fireworks display draws 30 thousand people down here in I’m right in the middle. The fireworks get shot from right across the river from the store. I have my family all set up on the stores deck all day. Its like our own private viewing. Every restaurant along the river has a band playing. Its a big deal that the store is right in the middle of.
Bikes get moved to a corner and nescos get set up. Good food all day long.
So tomorrow the store is closed but I’ll be here all day as we transform the store into some kind of cabin along the river. Hanging out and eating and drinking.
But not after a 50 mile ride in the morning. I can’t let a day off, which does not come often go without a exhausting bike ride. Hope everyone has a great Holiday weekend.