Here we are, almost one year into Pedal’s existence. It might be a good time to talk about what we’ve done, what we’d like to do and where we’re going.

The Pedal approach is about the bike shop as primarily a service enterprise as opposed to a traditional retail store. In our first year, this has been a double-edged sword. To the good, our concept appears to have been well received. To the bad, there were definitely times when a more retail-centric stance would have been to our advantage. I’m talking specifically about inventory levels and merchandising, which we bungled from time to time. Changing our inventory software right when business ramped up was not an example of crackerjack timing, but the new systems are good and should help us have our inventory in better shape going forward.

Long have I felt that lady cyclists represented an underserved market in Kalamazoo, and I very much wanted Pedal to fill that void. I think we did a good job on bikes, but a pretty mediocre job with clothing. We had some cool stuff, but perhaps not enough selection and surely (not to beat a dead horse) some inventory issues at times. I’d give us about a C+ on fulfilling that mission last year and hope to see improvement in 2012. Stay tuned.

On occasion I’m asked about online shopping. I have a very long answer that boils down to this: Not now, and maybe never. There are definitely some advantages to an online Pedal — I’m thinking cash flow during the February Kalamazoo cycling scene (or lack thereof) and the fact that our local customers can see items we can access but may not have in the store — but there’s a lot of work involved. Pedal was established to serve the good people of Kalamazoo and surrounding areas, and I think — especially right now — any extra work should be aimed at doing what we do better, instead of trying to do something new.

All this talk about good and bad and what we do and don’t want to do made me think that it’s high time I codify a few ideas that have been banging around in my head for some time. In that spirit, I present the Pedal Priorities:

  1. Make our customers happy to do business with Pedal.
  2. Respect and value our employees.
  3. Treat our vendors as we wish to be treated.
  4. Everything else.

There will be more, but that’s what I have for now.