Bike retailers in Central Mass. battling brief provide and excessive demand
Central Massachusetts bicycle retailers are nonetheless coping with a nationwide bike scarcity following excessive demand for bikes in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a few estimate provide may very well be down for some time.
“What the pandemic mainly did is make folks understand that biking is a secure and enjoyable approach to get train,” Neil Medin, supervisor of Landry’s Bicycles on Jolma Highway in Worcester, mentioned. “Gyms began to shut and health locations closed for the pandemic, and folks nonetheless needed to get outdoors and be energetic. They usually discovered biking an excellent avenue to do it.”
Final yr, the pandemic created a rush to purchase bicycles as folks started in search of outside train choices with gyms and different exercise amenities having to shut as a part of state shelter-in-place orders. Retailers faced record demand for bicycles and finally noticed a scarcity in provide.
Over a yr after the beginning of the pandemic, space bike retailers are nonetheless seeing excessive demand and low provide, Don Walker, supervisor of Frank’s Bicycle Barn on Route 9 in Westboro, mentioned. Walker mentioned that worldwide demand over the previous yr is the best it has been in 50 years.
“You discuss to (prospects), see how a lot they’ve really checked round, and as soon as they open up they are saying, ‘Yeah I have been calling 12 totally different bike retailers and so they all mentioned the identical factor,'” Walker mentioned.
Walker, who does the bike ordering for his store in addition to for 2 sister shops referred to as Frank’s Spoke ‘N Wheel in Waltham and Sudbury, mentioned any bikes that come into the store are offered on the identical day they arrive within the store and even earlier than they arrive. He mentioned he will get solely 10 to fifteen bikes every week when now could be sometimes the season the place they promote 30 to 40 bikes every week.
Provide points have additionally affected Landry’s Bicycles’ inventory of bicycles, Medin mentioned. Nonetheless, the corporate’s shopping for staff secured preorders final yr after they heard a scarcity was occurring and people pre-orders helped them with the availability.
“We have been capable of work with our distributors to order bicycles to be shipped to us as a result of we did pre-order them in an earlier time,” Medin mentioned.
That foresight from the ordering staff allowed Landry’s to have the ability to present bikes to prospects in a considerably well timed method, Medin mentioned. He added that some firms have additionally gotten higher at supplying bicycles, however getting new bikes stays a problem.
Landry’s in Worcester has round 300 to 400 bicycles in inventory. Medin mentioned the corporate has expanded on-line ordering alternatives through the pandemic. Landry’s additionally has extra want for hiring staff to promote and restore bicycles with the rise with the rise in demand.
Specific bicycles similar to mountain bikes within the worth vary of $500 to $1,000 and high-end street bikes in a worth vary of $5,000 and over are nonetheless within the midst of a deep scarcity, Medin mentioned.
Nonetheless, Landry’s has an excellent provide of power-assisted bicycles and people stay in good demand.
Often throughout Might, Nationwide Bike Month, Medin mentioned that distributors provide gross sales on bikes. This yr, the scarcity has prevented such gross sales from being put in place.
“As a way to put one thing on sale, you must have it to placed on sale,” Medin mentioned.
Restore work makes up many of the enterprise that Walker’s retailer at present does and has remained constant after an preliminary surge. Whereas restore orders at Frank’s Bicycle Barn have been as soon as backed as much as nearly a month through the begin of the pandemic, Walker mentioned he’s at present scheduled for about two weeks price of repairs.
“Thankfully there’s quite a lot of restore work to do. Folks bringing in outdated bikes to repair up. We now have an excellent provide of that to do,” Walker mentioned. “You could not get new bikes so folks have been bringing in outdated bikes that they’d and fixing them relatively than shopping for new ones. And the opposite factor is persons are utilizing them in order that they do want extra work.”
Servicing has remained constant from final yr at Landry’s, however Medin mentioned producers are encountering shortages of alternative elements to repair bicycles.
Walker mentioned that his retailer continues to be doing superb financially regardless of the scarcity and has been helped by among the finest years for gross sales in its practically 50-year historical past in 2020.
“We’re old-school, we have been right here near 50 years. We personal our buildings, they don’t seem to be actual fancy. Haven’t got a ton of assist, we’re not overstaffed,” Walker mentioned, “So we’re in good condition, money-wise.”
The projected arrival dates for Walker’s final couple of motorcycle orders are late in 2022 to early 2023. He added that the availability chain for bicycles has been difficult by an obvious lack of delivery containers and truck drivers.
Bike equipment similar to helmets or bike racks for vehicles are additionally in demand for Walker’s retailer, however bike elements and merchandise are additionally hitting provide points.