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Longmont's Blue Sky Cycles Closes

Published November 3, 2009

LONGMONT, CO (BRAIN)—Blue Sky Cycles in Longmont, Colorado, closed on Monday, a result of declining sales in light of the recession.

Owner Rob Love, who opened in 2005, said he used much of his start-up capital to get through the first couple years of business. He broke even after two years, but "we didn't have enough time to reinvest or reaccumulate that capital to get through the lean times," Love said.

Love had reduced his staff from eight in 2007 to three, and scaled back on inventory in response to the decline in consumer spending.

"We tried what we could do to secure new small business loans through federal programs, but they weren't right for us or we weren't right for them. Rather than let this whole thing get ugly, we decided we should pull the pin. You sit down and look at the paperwork and you know you just don't have what it takes to weather another year of this," he said.

Love's main lines were Giant, Felt, Maverick and Electra. He's working with his suppliers to return product in order to avoid devaluing bikes with a liquidation sale. Other products will be sold online through Pros Closet so the local market won't be flooded with discounted inventory.

"While this decision may seem abrupt, I believe it is in the best interest of the community, financial stakeholders, industry suppliers, and employees," Love said in a letter posted on the shop's Web site. "To that end, careful thought and planning has gone into this decision. The choice not to hold a going-out-of-business sale means that inventory will not be liquidated locally at this time. Rather than prolonging the closing process, I believe that an efficient and orderly shut-down is the best solution.

"The past four and one half years have been exciting and educational, and on the behalf of the employees and myself, I thank everyone who helped to make Blue Sky Cycles a unique destination for dedicated cyclists," Love wrote.

Blue Sky Cycles is not the only Longmont bike shop to shutter this year; High Gear Cyclery closed in June after 23 years in business. There are now two local bike shops to serve the city of 91,000 residents, Love said. Shops in the nearby cycling hotbed of Boulder, located about 15 miles away, have been more insulated from the economic downturn due to its wealthier population and the steady stream of students from the university.

"The cycling community in Longmont is thriving, it's jamming, which is great. What's happening is a lot of the makeup of Longmont is more tied to the economy, more tied to the high-tech sector, families, working young people who are worried about whether or not they'll lose their jobs. They've really cut back on discretionary spending," Love said.

—Nicole Formosa

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