The COVID-19 pandemic has made many businesses change, adapt and evolve over the last two years. Like many across the Empire State, a Central New York bike shop is making the most of the difficult situation.
Resource Cycling's sales haven't exactly been great, expectedly so, through the holidays and winter months.
"Historically, the holiday season has never done anything big for bike shops," said owner Jeremy Clay.
"Unfortunately, in the bike industry, we've seen a decrease in Christmas bikes being bought, typically for kids, because they're not doing as much outdoor stuff these days," shop mechanic Kevin Perry said. "When there's snow on the ground, they don't think about riding a bicycle is really what ends up happening. So this is when we tend to get more of the serious riders in with their bikes and their equipment."
That's where the Fayetteville shop excels — service.
Where shops across New York and the nation have been devastated by supply chain shortages, Clay saw the writing on the wall, and an opportunity.
"I saw everything happening, but I just was watching the actual numbers on the actual inventory online dwindle in front of my eyes, never seen that before," he said, remembering an early day in 2020 when he used his decades of experience in the business to make his next move for the shop. "Instead of ordering a bunch of bikes that we can't get right now, let's take our money and put it all towards all the small parts that we need."
It's a credit to their survival skills and business over the last two years, not to mention a real point of pride.
"To be able to not have to turn away tons and tons of customers and be able to repair everything for everybody really meant a lot to the guys here in the shop and how we do things," Clay said.
Of course, the logistics are not the only hurdle they've faced in recent history. Having a dear friend tell the truth to Clay helped change the business.
"I didn't come into your shop because I was too scared to, because I thought it was for athletes and people who are cyclists and professionals and things like that," he remembered the friend saying.
Now, Resource Cycling is shaking stigmas of smaller shops being strictly for those who need special bikes, shoes and colored jerseys. And his staff has been on board, 100%.
"We want to be the resource for all the cycling needs," said Perry.
And while you'd think some of the more specialized gear is what would keep some shops relevant, "you don't make a lot of money off one athlete buying an $8,000 bike," Clay said. "So, it seems like it's more beneficial to really gear everything towards the athlete. It's almost better to gear everything towards the families instead, and there's not much that's better than watching a kid get their first bike walk out of here with a big smile on their face."
There are a few more services available at local shops.
"If somebody rolls in in a wheelchair, we have tires and tubes and all the different parts that we need to fix things like that for them to keep those wheelchairs rolling. You know, anything that's kind of bike-oriented," said Clay.
"If you look at your insurance, we work on it for way cheaper when it comes to changing those tires out and things like that," added Perry. "We also get it done, like on the spot. I couldn't imagine being a person who needs to rely on something like that and not be able to get around. How frustrating that's got to be. So our goal is to take care of people in that situation."