Indeed, the business provides a whole lot toward making customers happy, including lifetime free tune ups, trade-in opportunities, a discount on accessories the day of a bike purchase, guaranteed fits, free pick up and delivery, 24-hour turnaround and a customer focused sales staff with incredible aptitude for all things cycling, committed to creating the friendliest experience possible.
It’s a lot to offer, but the returns, for Christie, are invaluable. “Everything about the bike business is rewarding,” he says. “Providing good jobs for my friends. Watching their families grow. Creating something from scratch with them. Strategic planning around our local competition. Teaching a customer’s kid how to ride without training wheels. Making someone who would never walk into a bike shop feel like they belong.”'
The theme of community runs throughout Christie’s business. Summit Bicycles is the largest cash sponsor of local advocacy group Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC), and the shop sponsors the Peninsula Velo Cycling and Kain Performance Triathlon Clubs. “The clubs have been unique sponsorships because they understand that sponsorship is a relationship. They understand that if we win, they win, and vice versa,” says Christie. The result has been a large increase in labor sales from the club members directly, plus a significant number of referrals from each club.
The demands of running a four-store retail business haven’t dampened Christie’s desire to ride. One of his most cherished memories in the saddle is of a cycling trip to Mallorca with two friends. It was an adventure that also proved one of his most challenging – when the group got lost. And then there was that one time in Moab...