Now that all the excitement over the new shop announcement in Keller is passed (with the grand opening celebrations looming ahead), it is time to get down to some unpleasant facts.
Easy Street staff is about to get stretched very thin. I’ve got four people working this operation, including myself if you count all my executive navel-gazing as work, and now we’re going to try to run two shops at a 200-mile distance. Yes, you can expect to see new staff come on at both shops, but not immediately. Most of you are familiar with the term “growing pains” as they apply to business. At least in the short run, if not the medium, our ability to tend to your needs will diminish. Here’s the dope:
- Showroom hours will shrink. As of April, the Austin showroom will be open Thursday through Sunday, now closed Monday in addition to Tuesday and Wednesday. We will need extra time to catch up jobs, orders, receiving, and all the other back-office stuff. I’m sure they will all be driving up from Corpus Christi on Monday to stand dejectedly with their noses to the door glass, wishing they’d troubled to look at the new store hours.
- Similarly, the Keller shop will be open from Wednesday to Saturday, closed Sunday through Tuesday. Micah will be on his own up there, with support from me when I can, but I’ve got a shop to run down here. Micah’s impression of the Dallas market is that it’s lucrative, but demanding and wants it done now. Well, too bad.
- On the events front, expect less of them for the time being. We’re going to hunker down to the bread and butter business of stocking the showroom, informing our customers, and getting their repair jobs done. Rebecca will have two shops’ books to keep, and will increasingly cover inventory management. We won’t stop doing events, and we will be throwing a grand opening for the Keller shop, but we will stop doing the more ambitious ones… for the moment. Having said that:
- The Spring Glamping trip is cancelled. I should have seen that coming sooner, but looking at things realistically I can’t pull both Rebecca and I out of the shop during our busiest time of week in one of our busiest months. I expect to return to Glamping in the fall when business is starting to slow down and we can catch our breath a little. Anyway, no one had actually signed up for it yet.
- With Micah off working his magic in Keller, I won’t be able to trot him out to consult on hi-tech gizmos any more. Yes, I’ll learn about some of this stuff, but the past few years of having him around has made it very easy for me to push stuff off on him that now I’ll have to come up to speed on. I was painfully aware of this a couple of days ago when he was fussing over a customer with an electronically shifted Catrike he’d built up with a power meter crankset. There is all this bike stuff now that talks to your smart phone. I guess I’ll be getting myself a smart phone. You may know me as a mechanical problem solver, but I’ve never been into the “hot new things” like Micah has. I’ve got some catching up to do, and here comes STEPS And Di2 and all that.
- Similarly, Micah has been able to pull on my supply of doo-hickies, thingamabobs, and other little problem solvers that have accumulated around this shop since the 90’s.
- Lastly, and most painful for me, is that our ability to do fast turnaround service drops considerably. I know some of you have to come a long way for your repair work, and I’d like to be able to drop everything and knock out your job. I may even be able to, but I can’t promise it and a part of me unwisely wishes to promise it. I mean I should be able to tune up this 1980’s vintage Inifinity in 100 minutes, and maybe I could if these yo-yos didn’t keep parading into the showroom. And Laurie needs off when? There is gonna be some unhappy people, and I’ll get to meet all of them.
This condition won’t last forever. There will be new staff. There may even be more people of Micah and Laurie’s caliber, but these are hard to shake out. Even so, new hires will first be doing build work which keeps the showroom stocked but doesn’t help us react to someone’s immediate needs. The vast variety of designs and systems on recumbents means that training people even to do check-overs isn’t trivial. Indeed, to me the simple “check over” is intended as assurance to you that no problems will spring up soon, and that takes a depth of understanding that most people don’t come in off of the street with.
Is everyone happy yet? Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. It has been bothering me now for a few months. The need to cancel the Glamping trip made this announcement more urgent, so there it is.