DALLAS, TX (BRAIN)—Everything is big in Dallas, including retail space, as seen on the first day of shop visits on the BRAIN Dealer Tour of Dallas.
Richardson Bike Mart, the first stop on the three-day tour of local bike shops, boasts 36,000 square feet of total retail space. “It’s Texas,” said Jim Hoyt, explaining the size of the shop. Hoyt, who bought the original location in 1980 after years as a territory sales rep for Schwinn, now owns three locations but calls the Richardson store “the motherlode.” Its annual sales volume equals what the other two locations do each year. Richardson relocated to its main location in 1997 after outgrowing its original location two miles away. Six years ago it expanded into an adjacent space, knocking out a wall and tacking on 8,500 square feet dedicated to apparel and softgoods.
Like Richardson, Plano Cycling and Fitness was a former Schwinn dealer. Rick Gurney grew up in the business, which is father purchased in 1973. Gurney Sr. built its current location in 1977. Gurney has expanded the footprint to 16,000 square feet, adding a showroom for premium models in 2004 “We thought we were done then,” said Gurney. Last July it began another remodel, opening the wall to a dedicated service wing. Then, last fall, he brought in merchandising guru Mercedes Ross to help select fresh color palettes and apparel displays for the front of the store. He’s still trying to pare down the bikes stacked on racks at the rear of the shop to allow for more space and lifestyle images of cycling. But Gurney said it’s a fine balance: “We have to show we have it in stock.”
Performance Bicycle has been aggressive in the Texas market, launching eight stores in the past four years. Three of those stores are located in the Dallas area including Performance's 8,500-square-foot Plano location. Even though these stores have been around for a while now, the challenge is to still educate consumers about the company's presence. “Lots of people don't know we're here yet,” said Bill Heins, general merchandise manager for Performance Bicycle. But Performance hopes that will change as consumers discover the nationwide retailer’s extended service plan and satisfaction guarantee.
For photos of the shops visited and of the wet riding around the Dallas suburbs yesterday, visit the BRAIN blog.