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Retailers: Good Weather Beats High Gas

Published June 19, 2009

SCARSDALE, NY (BRAIN)—Danny Cycles in New York State has been dealing with wet weather for the last month, and the forecast for this week doesn’t look much better.

“Our business is so weather based,” said Steve Kahn, owner of Danny’s Cycles in Scarsdale, New York. “Weather’s probably the No. 1 thing.”

Even though gas prices are slowly rising again, Kahn feels like it’s not enough to make a difference. “I think the $5 mark is the number where people take notice,” he said. Anything less than that and it’s not enough for people to really get serious about replacing car trips with bike trips. “They’ll say first, ‘I’m going to start to cut back on purchases,’” Kahn added.

Kahn in May opened his second store in Mohegan Lake, New York, and so far so good. “I struck an incredibly good deal rent-wise,” Kahn said.

Even the San Francisco Bay Area hasn’t been immune to less than stellar weather. “Nice weather is always good for business,” said Dennis Uphoff, owner of The Off Ramp in Santa Clara. “When it rains you might as well just close your doors.

“It’s been chilly here—much cooler than normal. It’s definitely affecting business,” he added.

But for Clarksville Schwinn & Fitness, rising gas prices do seem to be helping with business. “More and more people are commuting,” said Bob Peters, owner of the store in Clarksville, Indiana. “It definitely helps the bike business.”

Last summer when gas prices rose to unprecedented levels, Peters was seeing customers bring in “real old bikes” for repair, but he’s not seeing that yet. “Right now it’s newer bikes,” Peters said. “But we’ll be seeing more of them [older bikes] if gas hits $5.”

—Jason Norman

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