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Local Bike Shop Day to return tomorrow

Local Bike Shop Day 2019 will take place tomorrow, 4th May, aiming to give smaller, independent stores an opportunity to highlight what sets them apart from the bigger national retailers. The inaugural UK Local Bike Shop Day took place last year on 6th October, inspired by the success of UK Record Store Day. Daniel Jones, owner of Random Adventure, tells BikeBiz what it means for IBDs.

How have preparations been for this year’s Local Bike Shop Day? How much of an increase in interest have you seen?
The name is out there now. Building a brand and getting our name known is the next big step. We’re attaching ourselves to events and making our social media presence go viral organically, focusing on the quality of followers, rather than quantity. The packs are available to download and we have seen photos from various shops with the poster in their window, Lucy at Indiprint has had a steady uptake of sticker orders too. We currently have 140 shops signed up at the time of writing. We also want to grow to help IBDs survive as a business, this is from allowing shops to add ourselves as a host, looking at group training sessions and also providing one to one support for social media and promotional help.

Why did you choose to switch to May this year? Will it remain May in future years?
We switched to May due to comments over the winter that the October date wasn’t very demo day friendly, no weather for a BBQ and the like too. I wanted a date that was early in the season and hopefully has good weather – when many fair-weather cyclists also start cycling again or take it up. I consulted many shops in polls to gauge when was the best time to host the day. I want this to be a slow burn over the years, starting from the shops upwards and constantly looking at what’s working, from date, format and also uptake, this means the date may change. It’s the shops’ day, they collectively own it, I listen to them and help set a mutually viable date.

How have you gone about growing the event? Will it simply be an upwards trajectory of word-of-mouth each year, or something more?
I want a natural growth for LBS day, shops need to realise that this is a day for their shops, it is what they make of it. We run on a £0 advertising budget and are doing well using social media to make this take off. From later this year, we’ll have something called remedi8 starting which will help in all aspects of small businesses developing, and we are in the process of getting the brand trademarked to help protect its core identity and mission, also potentially gain some income to put back into the project with things like advertising.

What was the overall reaction to the 2018 event?
In 2018 about 100 shops signed up, the rate that shops have closed down won’t have changed, that said Record Store Day hasn’t fixed the record stores with HMV having to close many shops.
Many shops missed out on that day, I do believe that the core public media aren’t jumping on this as they should. If this is due to the message not getting out there, or other reasons, it remains to be seen.

What are your plans for next year, and how ambitious are your plans for Local Bike Shop Day in the coming three to four years?
2020 will continue as planned with more focus on shops developing their online presence and working on what makes them unique and the experience, it’s tough out there, people are still shopping with habits from the 2008 recession. HMV is drastically downsizing and has closed its flagship store, RSD day still had records left over from the day, totally unheard of years ago. We will review the long term viability of LBS day after next year’s day and see if a day or support is what’s needed.

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