Guitar Ted rants a little about bike shops that still don't get that the winning proposition of the Local Bike Shop is not everyday low prices but excellent service.
With pressure from online vendors and even Wal-Mart apparently entering the high-end bike market, there's more pressure than ever for the local bike shop to compete effectively. Unfortunately, stories of intimidating visits to bike shops with smarmy employees and patronizing sales personnel still seem to outnumber the "I had a great experience!" experiences.
I've been fortunate enough to visit some great bike shops with outstanding and helpful people. When I visit a new shop, though, the help I get is usually indifferent if I can get any attention at all. I'm a knowledgeable consumer, so I can imagine the neophyte will be completely intimidated.
I'll close by quoting G-Ted: "I think a lot of folks need to wake up to the reality that it's more about the service and relationship with the customer and a lot less about the prices. If that happens in your bike shop, I know that a lot of people will buy items from a shop like that even if the prices are a bit higher because they are getting something else money can not buy." Read more of his rant here.