There's been a lot of talk lately about the women's bike movement and creating a women-friendly bike shop model-- Momentum Magazine did a great piece on a report released by the League of American Bicyclists--so we asked several bike shops how they contribute to the women's bike movement, and here's what they said...
This should be a no-brainer, as Jose Bray of Joe Mamma Cycles points out, but of course we all know it's not the norm. Welcoming and keeping female customers can be as simple as giving the same level of service to both men and women. As Beat Cycles proprietor Ryan Sheldon suggests, if you carry something for a man, carry it for a woman; if you carry something for a woman, carry it for a man.
The first thing you do whenever any customer, regardless of gender, enters your store is to find out what they're looking for and how much they know. Don't assume a female customer is looking for a women's bike--because what's a women's bike? Don't presume that female customers know nothing about bikes. The women's bike movement, as Momentum suggests, could very well save the bike industry, so operating a women-friendly bike shop is important to your shop's bottom line.
Uri Friedman says focusing on the approachability of his store, Swell Bicycles, is one of the ways the store remains a women-friendly bike shop. He makes sure the shop is well-lit and clean, and doesn't pack the floor to the gills with product. It makes sense: if a woman already feels out of her element walking into a bike shop, an overwhelming and claustrophobic retail experience isn't going to help matters.
Any business should hire the best staff available, and applicant pools aren't necessarily under any business's control, but it's worth noting that if all your retail staff are the same type--whether that's hyper-fit white men, or tatted-up Asian women--customers who aren't that type will likely feel ostracized as soon as they walk in. The women's bike movement wants to bring more women into bike shops--and a diverse staff will help your store do just that.