FOLSOM, CA (BRAIN) — Bicycles Plus owner John Crews marked his shop’s silver anniversary in unusual fashion: He completely overhauled his already successful 25-year-old business.
Earlier this year, the longtime Specialized and Trek dealer had come to a crossroads about continuing to work with both brands.
“We had been Trek and Specialized for a lifetime. Both manufacturers really wanted us to make a decision on one or the other. And I think that we were respected in both communities because we did well with both. But I felt it was time to make a decision. I did my research and went to Specialized to offer to partner,” Crews said.
“Trek is a great partner with great product. It’s just that when it came down to picking one, Specialized was a no-brainer,” he added.
A floor-to-ceiling remodel in partnership with Specialized soon followed.
“We put a shower in for our employees so they can ride to work,” Crews said. “Oakley came in and built a custom Oakley wall that is 25 feet long by 20 feet tall that holds I don’t know how many sunglasses. We’ve got a stainless steel water fountain that fills water bottles. All new lighting — I mean literally from the ground up, starting with the wood floors.”
The shop is now closing out its Trek bikes and has deepened its relationship with Quality Bicycle Products on the P&A side. Redline and Haro continue as BMX lines, and Crews is zeroing in on a boutique road bike brand to complement Specialized.
Perhaps the most important transformation, however, is that Crews — who began managing Bicycles Plus from home six years ago after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three years earlier — is back in the shop on a regular basis. Crews was a pro BMX racer in the 1980s and is a member of the BMX Hall of Fame.
While praising his staff’s work, Crews candidly wrote to Bicycle Plus’ newsletter subscribers that in his absence, “we've let some of our customers slip through the cracks of our imperfections. I’m here today to tell you I’m sorry. I’m making it my mission to fix our systems and give our staff the tools to make each and every visit to Bicycles Plus a pleasurable one.”
Additionally, Crews told BRAIN: “Where I saw things suffering was that people didn’t see me in front of the store, and there was some sort of passion missing. Part of this remodel and partnership with Specialized was getting me back into the business and reconnecting with customers.”
To foster that connection, Bicycles Plus will always have a designated “quarterback” at the front of the store to greet customers, direct store traffic and get the appropriate staffer to help. Every staff member—from sales to service to accounting—will be called on for quarterback duty, Crews said.
And if a customer is still unsatisfied? Well, Crews is making his personal phone number available to hear about it.
“I wanted people to know that if they don’t get absolutely 100 percent service at what they expect out of the store, I’ll fix it, I’ll change it. That’s why I put it out there,” he said.