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Colorado shop featured in BRAIN's Retail Remodel Project to close

Published March 14, 2017

LONGMONT, Colo. (BRAIN) — Bike-n-Hike, a Trek dealer in this Front Range city, will close its doors after 44 years in business. Current owners Rick and Jill Emerson bought the shop in 2007 from its second owner, Dave Swenson.

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Last week Longmont's TimesCall reported that the shop was slated to close mid-March. In the article, Rick Emerson said he "just didn't want to do it anymore."

Bicycle Retailer's attempts to reach the Emersons for more information about the closure were unsuccessful.

Bike-n-Hike was selected in 2016 for BRAIN's Retail Remodel Project. In the February 2016 remodel, the store was updated with an improved layout, paint, wall treatments, fixtures and merchandising. Giro, 3 Dots Design, Merchandising Werx and Bicycle Shop Kits sponsored the project. Bike-n-Hike was the second retailer to receive a makeover after Now Bikes & Fitness in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2015.

As part of Retail Remodel Project, retailers receive help from Gregg Frederick, owner of retail consulting firm G3 Development Group. G3 measures a remodel's success by analyzing financials, setting goals and monitoring sales by category. Frederick said the Emersons expressed concern for their business during an interview conducted at the time of the remodel.

"They clearly identified they were 3-6 months away from going out of business. I took that as an opportunity to coach them through the transition and how to use the newly remodeled store to give them the energy that seemed to be lacking in the interview, but to also attract new customers and the next level of employees, which is typical when a retailer remodels," said Frederick.

"Unfortunately, if the owners are disengaged with the business, it becomes extremely difficult to attract top talent and therefore enthusiastic customers. This is the lesson for all business owners: Engagement levels are directly correlated to revenues and profitability," he added.

3 Dots Design owner Holly Wiese said retailers can expect, on average, to see sales increase across categories following a remodel. But fresh paint, flooring and fixtures are just part of the equation.

"Typically, we see sales increases that range from 10 to 50 percent across key categories after we remodel a store, but the key ingredients for success, in addition to the proper store design and merchandising, always include extremely connected and present store owners, a great staff and strong commitment to keeping things fresh with product offering and marketing," said Wiese, who has worked as a retail designer since 1998.

Representatives from Retail Remodel Project title sponsor Giro were on-site for the remodel.

"We're saddened to lose a longtime retail partner in Bike-n-Hike, and doubly so given the work and investment made in support of the Retail Remodel Project," said Eric Richter, brand development manager for Giro.

"We will continue to engage with our partners, our reps and the industry in support of specialty retail, and invest in new ideas that can invigorate the retail experience based on what we learned from this investment, and also from the great success of (2015's) remodel with Now Bikes & Fitness," Richter added.

BRAIN tried to reach the Emersons numerous times after the remodel to write a follow-up story, but those efforts were also unsuccessful. Other Retail Remodel Project sponsors also were unable to get back in touch with the Emersons. 3 Dots Design's Wiese said she reached out multiple times to offer additional support but received no response.

"This told me they were already focused on other things. We haven't spoken directly with the Bike-n-Hike team to know the details of their situation, but we do know that the owners were definitely pulled in a lot of other directions besides the store and my guess is that this, along with a challenging retail climate in our channel, resulted in their downfall," Wiese said.

"Obviously we're sad to see this happen and wish Rick and Jill well in their next endeavor. This is the first time we've ever worked with a store in a remodel capacity and have had them close their doors shortly thereafter," she added.

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