Whether its riding a rail trail, getting out in the woods for some mountain biking, zipping up and down the road or just riding around the yard, biking is having a huge moment and Flat Tire Co. Bike Shop in downtown Greensburg is seeing the benefit.
Walking into Flat Tire Co., you’d never know that there is a pandemic going on. Many people across the country are turning to bicycles to stay active while socially distancing themselves from others. The trend of buying new bicycles and bringing old ones into the shop for tune-ups is keeping bike inventories low and repairs booked. Since March, downtown Greensburg’s bike shop has sold almost $500,000 in bikes, accessories, repairs and custom bike builds. 5-10 bikes are riding off their floor daily plus custom orders and online bike sales. On top of that accessories, parts, repairs and custom bike builds have allowed FTC to have their best spring yet.
“My forecasted numbers for spring were shattered,” said owner, Ashley Reefer. “I would say the shut down has more than doubled our business the past 2-3 months. The spring rush is here now, plus this, so it’s hard to say what all factors are at play now. We’ve seen a huge increase in price point bikes for getting around town and rail trail, along with kids bikes. We also saw a pretty big increase with online sales of bicycles and parts since people are setting at home. We average about 5-10 bikes a day.”
FTC is considered an essential business but also applied and received a waiver from the Governor to stay open. With so many bike shops limited on staff or not open, Flat Tire Co. was often the only place answering the phone and helping bike hungry customers. To help with demand they immediately rebuilt their website to have online scheduling for pickup and drop off of bikes. They included more bikes to purchase on their website offering shipping, curbside, local pick up and delivery. They’ve shipped all across the country as well as Europe, Russia and Israel in the last couple of months.
“This has forced us to rethink how the store is laid out for efficiency and how to tackle the volume of work we have,” said Reefer. “We are really only two people, but thankfully were in a great community and have had friends helping out with building and boxing bikes to keep up with demand. ”
Sales of new bikes are so strong some manufacturers are running out of inventory. There’s a market shortage in starter bikes and bikes that are under $1000.
“I don’t think our manufacturers will be restocked till the 2021s come out in fall,” said Reefer. “The plus side is nobody has ever regretted buying the nicer bike if they are going to stick with the sport, it’s like any hobby. We welcome the challenge of keeping up with demand and helping people with both repairs and sales.”
Big box stores often have empty bike racks or limited options and purchasing a bike there often means that the person who puts together the bikes also puts together the picnic tables or grills. While shopping at a local bike shop, like Flat Tire Co, bikes may be slightly higher in price, but you’re getting an experienced bike technician to get you on the right bike, fitted properly, as well as a better quality bike.
“We’re hopping all these new bike sales equate to more long term cycling and a larger cycling community in our area,” said Reefer.”It’s awesome to see so many people out riding bikes, getting their bikes tuned up, and enjoying the great outdoors…it’s even cooler they are choosing Flat Tire to do those things with.”
Flat Tire Co Bike Shop, located at 212 East Pittsburgh Street in downtown Greensburg, has been selling bikes, accessories and offering repairs and bike builds since August of 2016. Thursday evenings they host Group Bike Rides from the shop for any level of rider.