CSD: Retailing On Two Wheels
By Erin Rigik
a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of
an article from Convenience
Store Decisions magazine.
With gas pumps
out front, automotive supplies inside and the occasional adjacent lube
shop, c-stores are geared toward the driving public. But as more commuters
take to bikes for exercise, to save on gas or to support a greener environment,
one c-store owner is making bicycles his business.
A bike commuter
and bike mechanic, Edwin Skaug noticed a theme at retail while riding.
stores primarily carry automotive products and daily need items, I thought
if a c-store had more bike shop items designed to appeal to bike traffic,
it might bring in cyclists that wanted to shop while they waited for
a bike tune-up or to get a tire patched," he said.
his hometown of Portland, Ore. was named America’s top cycling city by Bicycling magazine
in 2001 and 2006. The last Census report in 2004 showed about four percent
of the Portland population used bicycles as their primary mode of transportation.
And, the city’s Office of Transportation’s Bicycle Master Plan calls
for increasing bicycle mode share in the inner city to 15 percent and
citywide to 10 percent by 2011.
In other words,
cycling is booming in Portland.
Using the trend
and his background to his advantage, Mr. Skaug opened a bike shop/c-store,
called A Convenient Cycle, in Portland in August, renting a location
near a major bike path and doing all the renovations on the 350-square-foot
Cycle not only offers bike parking, but features bike accessories from
tires and lights to locks and helmets, as well as c-store items such
as toiletries, protein and energy bars, chips, an array of hot and cold
beverages and, of course, first aid items, such as painkillers and bandages.
The store also services bikes, repairing break pads, cables and other
So far, customer
response has been positive. "They like being able to come in, and if
they have time to hang around for a tune up, they can get an energy bar
or a soda or look around at accessories. I have a bunch of folks swinging
by to schedule tune-ups and grab snacks," Mr. Skaug said.
With his store
already open and attracting riders, Mr. Skaug has set his eye on expansion.
Already he has a front-loading Dutch cargo tricycle to bring his convenience
store business directly to those on the bike path. "I will be out on
the bike routes riding around. I am working with the city to set up a
permit spot for the morning to promote the shop location. I’ll carry
break pads, patch kits, batteries, cables, other bike accessories, painkillers,
bandages and power bars," Mr. Skaug said.
His next goal
is to acquire cargo bikes to rent to people who need to run errands or
rent a bike for the weekend.
What do you think of a c-store targeting cyclists? Would it work in
other parts of the country? Does it give you ideas for c-stores geared to other