Independent v Corporate

We’re an independent company so you’d think I’d know better but we all need reminding of the difference.  Today I had an object lesson.

Over the Bank Holiday Monday, the independent bike shop was of course closed as it should be.  Everyone needs a break and independents work long hours to keep their businesses on the road.  So, off I went to the corporate bike shop, to buy a new tyre and inner tube.  The service was fine as I spent my money.

I use Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, so puncture resistant that I have little practice replacing and repairing inner tubes.  So, dammit, I nipped the new tube when I was putting it in!

To avoid further problems, I left the wheel overnight.  Today I called the big bike shop to see if they could squeeze in this minor job if I dropped by.  Too busy was the response.  “Drop it in and we’ll try to get it done today” but no promises or timescale.  I had a distinct feeling I had suddenly become a hassle.  I was a bit unhappy but headed into town.  On the way, I thought, embarrassing though it would be, I’d call into my local independent bike shop which I’ve been using for 20 years or more.  It's Freedom Bikes in George Street, Brighton.  The guys could only say no.  

As I walked in, Ben was working on a bike.  I grovelled a little and asked for help. Of course, Ben said yes and ten minutes later I was leaving the shop with a solid tyre and a smile on my face.  He didn’t want to take anything for the work but I bought another spare inner tube anyway…and we had a great chat whilst he worked on the wheel and he gave me extra advice.  

The moral is: choose the independent way.  The owners and staff are personally motivated to do the right thing.

That’s the reason to buy your books on the high street, use independent local shops and support local quality businesses.  Customers need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Thanks Ben at Freedom Bikes for reminding me :)