BikeBiz spoke to Leisure Lakes’ Nottingham/Derby store manager Andy Ramsdale to find out more about Leisure Lakes and running a bike shop within easy reach of the spectacular Peak District.
What are the features of your business that make it a success?
Having a good range of stock to suit a wide range of cyclists, and doing our best to be polite and professional at all times. Manners cost nothing but reward you handsomely.
What are the biggest challenges for you in the upcoming year?
At the moment keeping abreast of the current economy is a challenge, as is being aware of why product prices are going up in our industry. And then the task is trying to hunt product that still offers great performance at a good price.
What sort of customers do you get in-store?
We mainly get mountain bikers, but both the commuter and road categories are growing daily for us.
What’s key to being a successful cycle dealer?
Making the most of the customers that grace you with their presence. Listening to the needs of a customer and finding the right bike and kit for them is key – almost like being a personal shopper if you like. The more you listen and take heed of what the customer tells you the more you get out of the day. It’s nice when you take something away with you like the feeling that you have really helped someone find what they wanted, and see them happy with their purchase.
That’s the key – get this right and have systems in place to keep contact with the customer while handling all parts of their order and you won’t go far wrong. In a nut shell, use your common sense.
How long have you been stocking electric bikes, and have you seen demand increase recently?
We had a dabble stocking them a few years back, but the demand wasn’t that high. Now seems like a good time to start again as technologies are getting better.
At the moment the electric bike sector is growing – albeit slowly. But as fuel prices inevitably start to increase again it will become more and more appealing to many as a truly viable alternative means of transport.
Do you offer a workshop service for customers? And if so, how important is that to your store?
We have two full time mechanics, and judging by how booked up we always are, it’s very important for our business.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about your shop?
We rode out the last recession and we have no plans on going anywhere in this one.
What do you think 2009 has in store for cycle dealers?
Challenging times for sure, but a willingness to adapt and be flexible should see all of us right. We have to accept that parts of the market are changing in cycling and if we don’t embrace that we are going to suffer. More product development will keep our market fresh and will also keep consumers glued to their bikes.
Owner: Tim Noy
Established: This branch 1997, Leisure Lakes approximately 25 years ago
Telephone: 01332 872947
Opening Times: Monday, Saturday 09.30 –17:00, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 09.30 –17:30, Thursday 09.30 –20:00, Sunday 11.00 –16:00