In this series, ActionCOACH Mary Ann Hauser (MAH) and team virtually sit down with business owners to learn how they are working through COVID-19. Check out their inspiring stories for tips on how to cope with and successfully recover from this pandemic as well as ideas on how to avoid making common mistakes. And be sure to look at special offers from these businesses – we can all use a little extra help right now!
CP: Colin Peet, Marketing Manager
PH: Paul Harrell, owner of Paul Cycle and Fitness
CP: What do you do and how long have you done it?
PH: We service bicycle and fitness equipment. In business since 1961, celebrating 60 years in business this year. We are in one store and one state right now.
CP: Who would you say is your best customer or target customer?
PH: We have a wide variety of customers. We have a bicycle and fitness bicycle business. We have a wide range of customers from entry level cyclist and more fitness driven and elite cyclist. Fitness side it's and older customer base 35 years and up. People putting fitness rooms in their house. With COVID it has become a common again. We use to do a lot of that back 1990's 2000's all the planet fitness memberships started opening up, our fitness side backed off a little bit. when the economy went south in 2008 that put a damper on our fitness equipment. So our bike business took the lead. Back in the late 1990 to 2000 70 % of our business was coming from the fitness side of things. 2008 it flip flopped. Now with COVID it has leveled out. We are doing both. Our best customers are those that appreciate the face to face conversation and be able to educate them on what we are selling. We pride ourselves on our service.
CP: What has been the biggest impact on your business with COVID 19?
PH: We have been blessed to be able to stay open. We have had a positive impact from COVID. We have had a bigger year. The supply chain has finally broken, now we won't see much inventory till next spring. It has boosted our sales. We will see how things even out. What are some actions you had to put in place because of the Pandemic? We abbreviated our hours. We had limited staffing. We had employees coming in earlier and staying later. We put up signs up immediately to wear mask. Everyone was very understanding. We limited the number of people in the store at one time. Being more conscientious about cleaning phones and keyboards. Not shaking hands was the hardest part. We are from the south so it's been different. We have to laugh about it.
CP: What has been your biggest learning since becoming a Business Owner?
PH: It's an ever changing business. You have to learn to adapt and change. I have seen when everything was small business. Then we saw the big box stores came in and mom and pop stores closing. Now we are fighting the internet and online shopping with Amazon and other online stores. You have to learn not to get stuck in your old ways.
CP: Do you have any special offers you'd like to share?
PH: We offer when you buy a bike from us we offer a year of free service, any adjustments. We also give 10% off accessories for up to a year of buying a bike with us. Same with fitness equipment.
CP: What do you find the most inspiring?
PH: This year with COVID seeing families come together. It was great to see the families come in a want to get bikes so they can all get out and ride bikes. Seeing families reconnect. Especially in our own business. We love hearing the stories of families riding bikes and tracking the miles they are riding together. This is our customer happy place...they come here to get away from stresses. We have been around so long and when we get to hear about someone sharing their memories of our bike shop and how it makes them happy. We are proud of the positive memories people have in our community.
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