Seminar and Expo last week Feb. 19-22 in frosty Minneapolis/Bloomington, MN. Nice to get away for a few days and even nicer to be pleasantly surprised by all the friendly networking, fantastic seminars, and vendor dealings. We still can't get over how friendly everyone was! From the MN locals to the bike shop owners from around the country, everyone was more than thrilled to hang out, talk, share tips and information. We were feeling the love!
(Pictured L-R: Chris -Bicycle Sport Shop, Austin TX; Jay -Mock Orange Bikes, Ashville NC; Jonathan-Family Bike Shop, Crofton, MD)
Jonathan and I took several course seminars on Friday lead by fantastic speakers who actually work in the industry and had something worthwhile to relate. We actually were able to walk away with several ideas on how to grow our business, some of which we have already started on! We made a to-do list on the airplane ride home.... two pages long!
We partied that Friday night with the local cyclists and visiting shop owners at One On One
Cycles. With a few inches of freshly fallen snow on the ground, they opened the shop up 'till all hours of the night with free beer, great conversation and bicycle eye-candy. This place is one-of-a-kind. It has a full coffee bar, cycling-related art on the walls for sale, heads of various hunted
animals displayed on the wall, a bicycle "junkyard" in the basement (heaven for any cycling enthusiast and scrounger), and of course bike sales and service. I got to talking with the owner, Gene O., for a while and he told me some history. Among other details, he mentioned that he used to be a pro-racer for Bianchi and a Bianchi rep back in the day and therefore has a cool collection of not-for-sale Bianchi's displayed on the wall... one for each year manufactured (pictured). Apparently, Minneapolis has the 2nd most number of bicycle commuters in the nation (behind Portland). They have a really cool cycling culture there.
QBP was more than hospitable providing almost every meal for us through the 4-day trip and plenty of beer and coffee. On Saturday, QBP opened up their corporate office and distribution center to us as if it was their home/banquet hall/bar! We also got to witness the infamous Pugsly Races
where a few teams of guys, some drunk, some shirtless, race Surly Pugsly
bikes in 10 degree weather around the QBP building and on their frozen lake. Lotsa fun.
I was impressed by the QBP building itself which was built to U.S. Green Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED
) standards. It inspired me to make more "green" changes in my life and at the shop. For instance, I'm going to start looking into tire recycling at the shop, as well as reusable tote bags or recycled bags instead of purchasing new ones for customers.
I think that Frostbike may be an annual trip for our shop. Although Interbike
in Las Vegas is
super-cool, there's an insane amount of junk to sift through in order to get to the good stuff. Frostbike was clean, concise, and valid. The Interbike dirt-demo is nice, though... and Vegas, well, what happens there, stays there. ;)
Thanks for reading,
Sarah (pictured with Jonathan)
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