When I opened my shop three years ago, I was positive I’d found my niche, and I was destined for success. I suppose that’s the euphoria every business owner feels when the loans have come in and the forms are all signed and the doors finally open on a dream.
I was sure my town needed an upscale bike shop. After all, the town had just put in new bike lanes, new bike trails in the parks and the state was on a real health kick. I was laughing to myself at how clever I was to open my shop right at that moment in history.
I’ve always loved bikes, even when it wasn’t a popular thing to do. From the moment I got on a bike as a kid, I’ve loved it. I biked to college. I biked to work. I still bike to work, in fact. Hopefully, I’ll keep biking to this job for years to come, although I’m worrying more now.
It seems that people do love biking in this community, but they are perfectly content with the cheap options sold in all the supermarkets. I get a few hipsters who come in for bike repairs or to window shop, but I don’t get nearly the business that I expected, or that the bank expected either.
The bills are piling up, and I’m feeling a bit desperate now. I’m researching Chapter 11 bankruptcy right now, and I guess that’s my best option, although I feel pretty humiliated going through that. I was expecting to be funneling money towards another shop by now, not pleading with investors to give me a little room to breathe.
Was I wrong to go all in on this business? It feels like it right now, and yet, deep down, I think there’s still money to be made. Maybe people had to buy that first cheap bike to really get a love for biking again, and now they’ll head my way for an upgrade. If I can hold on until spring, I intend to run some ads and offer some great deals in order to get people here just when the weather turns nice and the streets are completely clear.
But then, I’ll need to find the money to make it that far, and the money to run ads, and where am I going to find that?
It’s a depressing situation to be in, so I think I’ll go ahead and go out for a ride and think it over some more before coming to a decision. Maybe I can attach a little advertisement flag to the back of my bike and get some interest. Or I could start a fundraiser to bike across the state…just thinking about going out and riding is already getting my mind spinning again.
Yeah, I’m actually feeling much better about the whole thing all the sudden. Chapter 11 or not, I can get this business going again. People love bikes, I just have to remind them to buy a good one.