Concept stores have been a part of retailing in America for a long time. Bicycle retailing is no exception, with many types of stores having been attempted over the years, from the Schwinn concept of decades ago to the various supplier branded concept stores of today. Some of these have broken new ground and helped the business advance. Others have fallen short and quietly disappeared.
We have no dispute with those who pursue single-brand focused concept stores in bicycle retailing. There are advantages as well as disadvantages to this style of business, and it's up to the individual retailer to determine what sort of business they want to have.
It is true, however, that themajority of successful bicycle retailers today have taken a somewhat different path, carrying multiple brands representing a "best in category" focus, designed with the needs of their customers first. These independent bicycle retailers establish THEMSELVES as the brand in their customers' eyes. The products they carry are important, but secondary to strong local brand identity, personal relationships within a community, and the products and services that best serve their customers, their businesses and their values.
This is the inspiration for the NBDA Independent Concept. The retail concepts expressed here are powerful and proven. An Independent Concept Store is not one that looks and feels like all the rest. Independent Concept Stores are custom-built, one at a time, created and woven into the fabric of each individual community they serve. These stores become key players in a dynamic and unique cycling culture and marketplace. In this context, diversity and personality are strengths. These stores and the people who run them are important to the future of cycling in America.
We believe that independent bicycle retailers have the right to have strong beliefs about bicycles, the bicycle business and the marketplace, and to create a bike store that reflects their beliefs.
They have the right to build a retail business of lasting value that becomes integral to a local marketplace as THE BRAND for cycling products and services.
They have the right to select the companies and products based on their goals, the marketplace, the unique customer base and their values.
They have the right to form partnerships and carry products from companies they believe in and who support them in their businesses.