The Association of Cycle Traders (ACT) and Daniel Jones have announced that Local Bike Shop Day will take place this year on 4th May, aiming to give smaller, independent stores an opportunity to highlight what sets them apart from the bigger national retailers. The inaugural UK Local Bike Shop Day took place last year on 6th October, inspired by the success of UK Record Store Day. Jones, owner of Random Adventure, spoke to BikeBiz about what the day means for IBDs.
What inspired Local Bike Shop Day?
I was tired of people complaining about IBDs closing down and people just saying “another one bites the dust”, there was this general despondency, nobody was asking how can we help to stop/slow this decline in shops shutting down.
I also work as a sound engineer and DJ, I've know about RSD (Record Store Day) since its inception, it's a great tool kit for the shops. It won't fix the problem (look at HMV and its Oxford Road store) but it helps. I mentioned the idea and it snowballed from there onwards, it won't fix the problem, but it will hopefully help.
How does it help IBDs?
I had a phone call from one bike shop last year who thanked me for LBS day, he had a customer come in asking what's the cheapest you can do X for. He said he normally gets irate at this question, but this time he saw this as a sales opportunity and managed to make a sale. He said that knowing someone actually cared enough to start a day cheered him up enough to help push the sale through.
The grey elephant in the room will hopefully come out and people will start talking; there are many complicated issues with all high street shops, online shops and their low prices which is a big issue for the shops, a post recession public who are still shopping in a savvy nature and the B-word coming this March.
However, many shops will need to innovate and provide more than commodities for the same fee as online box shifting shops, I've seen a few shops become more workshop orientated, become a cafe and bar, host talks and become a social hub in their town.
How much is it expected to grow this year?
Many more journalists are getting in touch for this year, myself and Deryck Jones at Modesto Works are making a toolkit for the shops to help them spread the word easily and get the word out there too.
Last year over 100 shops signed up with the ACT to show their intentions to partake, I'm hoping to smash that number this year. We're also going to be doing some facebook live chats from a shop in Lancashire to help get the reach out.
How will its date change to earlier in the year have an impact?
May is the start of the hopefully good weather, we're hoping many bike companies will be hosting demo days over the weekend and the sunshine will get people out and to their LBS.
Retailers can register their shops for Local Bike Shop Day 2019 here. IBDs do not have to be a paying member of the ACT to register.