Category Archives: Shop news

News about Chain Reaction Bicycles

Said good-bye to Los Altos today…

Our Los Altos store after the last customer, 24 years after the first customer, has left and the front door locked for the last time.

It was a day in three parts, and definitely didn’t save the “best” for last.

It began with Kevin and I providing ride support for the annual Foster City Community bike ride, like we’ve done the past quite-a-few-years. Basically it involves inflating a whole lot of flat tires. I mean tons of ’em. As if nobody has a pump with a gauge at home, even though everyone claims they do. We bring a bunch of floor pumps, but nobody seems to know how to use them, even though they claim they have one. So yeah, we get quite a workout! Actually this year Kevin seemed to have gotten a bit smarter about things and was often putting bikes in the stand to take care of some adjustments, leaving me to pump the tires. Kid’s getting smarter!

Get home about 11:30, get dressed and go out for a quick ride ‘cuz Kevin’s got a train to catch at 3:20 to see a girlfriend near Berkeley. Has to be something short & pretty hard, just like last week. I’m really missing a longer ride!!! Next week, Pescadero or bust. Today it was Old LaHonda, West Old LaHonda (yes, you can squeeze past the barriers when they’re not working on weekends), then back up to Skyline, north all the way to 92 and back via Canada. A surprisingly-tough ride with Kevin pushing the pace most of the way.

And then Becky, Karen (my wife) and I headed down to the Los Altos store for its final hour. More like 90 minutes, as it stayed pretty busy for a while. I figured they could use the help and it wouldn’t seem right not being there for the end. It was a bit emotional at times, with regular customers coming in to say good-bye, and Amy, former store manager, flying in from New York, a complete (and emotional) surprise for my brother Steve. One of the staff (CJ) set up a grill after everything was over and served burgers as we discussed the good times and the… actually, just the good times. Many to remember. Some will be heading up to Redwood City after we get the remaining inventory moved up.

The total remaining inventory of socks after we closed down the Los Altos store. Wonder what was so wrong with these last 5 pair?

And tonight, it’s been all about running down the various places people would find information about the Los Altos store and making sure things were updated to show it’s no longer in operation. That’s an emotional thing in itself, and something I want to get out of the way quickly not just so customers don’t head down there thinking they can buy a bike, but also because it’s a bit painful and I’d rather not have to do it down the road. Just get it over with.

So yeah, kind of a big day, with many more still to come, as we have to make room to absorb what’s left. Have to admit we did much better on the closeout apparel than I thought we would.

Not a day to repeat; news about our Los Altos store

Today got off to a less-than-stellar start; on the regular Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride, Kevin was lagging pretty badly up Kings due to a pretty severe headache and yes, we actually turned back before the end of the climb, at the archery range. After returning home, Kevin spent a good part of the day in Kaiser ER, where they never could figure out the cause of the headache.

But the least-fun part of the day (and it takes a lot to top your kid spending the day at the ER!) was having to send out an announcement to customers that we’ll be closing our Los Altos store towards the end of September, just 6 weeks away.

We’ve been without a lease for 4 years, 4 very long years in which we’d been working with the landlord for a solution that wouldn’t have us bleeding money, 4 years in which he pitched this and that plan for changes in the shopping center that could benefit us, 4 years in which we saw sales steadily decline, at least in part due to it becoming tough to access our part of the shopping center due to overflow from Trader Joes.

I know nothing about shutting down a store; neither does my brother Steve, who’s basically started that store 24 years ago. Obviously we’ll be moving a lot of stuff into our Redwood City location, and just as obviously we’ll try to sell what we can so we don’t have to move so much. No specifics yet, but if you’re interested in store fixtures, hey, we got ’em!