Over the course of the next few months we are going to be chatting to some of our UK retailers to fill you in on all the latest gossip in the industry in the UK, and what they think about REID. For our first feature, we had a chat with Dave, owner of Oxford Bicycle Company, which is an independently owner and operated store punching well above its weight in terms of service, choice and sales volume.
Tell me a little about your business and how you got started?
I have been working in the bike industry since I was 14 but always for someone else. I then went to Australia and ended up buying some old Tay racers single speed and that’s what got me back into it. I moved back to England and started off doing mobile bike repairs 7 years ago. At this point I had a Government contract, but when that stopped I decided to take the plunge and get a shop. That was just over 2 years ago now with Oxford Bike Co, we’re going great!
How has the cycling community changed since you started?
I mostly do commuting bikes so we don’t get many snobby Lycra wearing middle-aged men who want the best brand at any cost. That said, the internet definitely has changed the way in which people buy from us. They think that by doing research online they are able to save money by buying online yet they don’t consider the cost of fitting and aren’t aware of the true quality of the product they are buying online – most of the time it’s not as great as they think.
Where do you see bike retail going in the coming years?
I think people are, generally speaking, moving away from the internet and prefer to come back to a small independent shops. People are fed up with going into a shop and seeing the guy behind the counter in the shop in their branded outfit which is all well and good, but they never see the workshop or the guy that’s going to fix the bike. I actually fix the bikes and you can see the workshop from within the shop so you know exactly who is fixing the bikes. It adds a personal touch and builds trust.
What first interested you in REID bikes?
I saw them in an advert in Bike Biz and I thought I’m interested in these. I thought they looked good and had everything I wanted. I was already doing Bobbin but REID came in at a lower price. I think the products REID are making are good quality and perfect for the £300 commuter.
What REID products sell best for you?
The Blacktop. It’s cool and lightweight, but not a single speed – I feel that bubble has burst. Also, the REID Classic 7 Speed Vintage; I sold 45 of them between start of September up till Christmas last year, and am confident of strong sales heading into this Christmas too. I now get people coming in and asking for REID which I was surprised about as they’re still quite a new brand in the UK, but I’m definitely seeing the retailer information on your website working well for us. I was selling 6 REID vintages to every Bobbin.
Why should people shop at the Oxford Bicycle Company?
You get an honest answer to everything. I believe, especially in this industry, it will come back and kick you in the teeth if you are not honest with them. I’ve never done a hard sell, a hard sale doesn’t work on me and I just want people to be honest.
We’d like Dave for chatting with us, it’s great to get to know our retailers a little better. Look out for more Retailer Features in the near future and get to know your local bike shop. IN the meantime, you can find out more about Oxford Bicycle Company here »