ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (BRAIN) — After five years of doing business on Albuquerque’s east side, The Kickstand bike shop will close its doors on Feb. 8. Owner and industry vet Lee Newsom said he made the decision in late summer of 2013.
“The main factor was the jacked-up economy here in Albuquerque, which is one of the poorest in the country,” said Newsom. “It never really recovered from the downturn in 2008, and I can’t keep pouring money into it. I’m tapped out.”
Newsom said he was also sitting on a high inventory of road bikes, and the declining demand for road bikes hurt sales. “People were holding off a bit on buying,” he said. “Or they just weren’t upgrading.”
In addition, a dry winter in 2012 followed by extreme high temperatures the following summer resulted in trail closures due to fire danger through mid-July, which affected mountain bike sales.
Newsom also said he felt the impact of more customers buying online, and that he has seen consumer mentality change over the past few years. “People who were on our race team would show up with boxes of stuff they bought on Amazon, even though I was giving them a hefty discount,” he said. “It makes me wonder if the days of the fully-stocked bike shop are numbered.”
The Kickstand opened in 2008 and sold bikes from Giant, Bianchi and Salsa at its 4,000 square-foot store. The retailer was consistently ranked in the top five best bike shops in Albuquerque and made Bicycle Retailer’s Top 100 list in 2011.
“For the first few years, we grossed more than $1 million in annual sales, so we were no slouch in town,” he said. “But I knew that the best decision was to close up shop while I still have some dignity, because I had nothing left to put into it to keep it alive.”
Former general manager Mike Humphries left The Kickstand in July 2013 when he was hired to manage the Trek Bicycle Superstore in Albuquerque. Newsom said most of his staff has found other jobs, but he hasn’t decided what he’ll do next. “I think I’ll sleep for the next month,” he said. “And then I’d like to go tour around on my Fargo for another month while I figure it out.”
Before he opened The Kickstand, Newsom managed the bike department at multisport retailer Sportz Outdoor for three years. He also worked at Albuquerque Bicycle Center for 12 years, where he eventually became general manager at all three of its locations.