Maybe you’ve heard that there’s a Commons as part of our new Studios West campus–home of Studio E!!!!–with shops and restaurants and whatnot, including a little bike shop? I’ve already used said shop to buy a helmet when I forgot mine, and some reflective tape when I was heading home late. I just lost a brake cable, so I was trying to look up their number tonight to make arrangements for repairs tomorrow while I’m at work.
Sidebar: This bike shop is very handy.
In any case, in my looking I came across a slightly snarky but harmless post lamenting the life of a Microsoft-bike-shop-guy, and the inevitable mini-jabs at Microsoft. Nothing out of the ordinary but for a response from the owner of the bike shop that I really liked; it made me like him, and like Microsoft. Read it in the comments on the original post, or here:
I am one of the owners of the “Bike Shop” in question so I thought I would add to the conversation to clarify some of the details. Our shop name is Eastside Ski and Sport and we are more than just a repair shop or a bike store as we also are a ski and snowboard retail, rental, and repair shop as well. Our new Redmond location currently provides retail and service and we are considering rentals.
As for our client base I will say that Microsoft as well as any other corporation for that matter has the same mix of people that you run into anywhere else in the world. The same types and kinds of people you will find in any bike store. The vast majority of people we serve are great customers who remind us why we went into this business to begin with which was to bring our passion for cycling, skiing, and the outdoors to others. These are the same type of great customers that have made your work experience in a bike shop a positive one.
Every bike shop has positive and negative aspects of the business that change based on the shop and ours is no different. However, our new store at the commons is completely counter to the perspective that Mr. Byron sets forth. We have been greeted daily with customers that are beyond excited to have a ski and bike shop on campus. I have received more hugs at my store in Redmond in the past week than in any other location that I have been in previously. On our opening day I had a customer come into the store actually bouncing because she was so excited wanting to know if we did snowboard tunes. When I told her that we did she was so happy she immediately gave me a huge hug and told me that she was so happy as she has been trying to get her board tuned for two years but just could not find the time to get that done with her schedule. That is the type of customer we have… happy, excited, appreciative, and positive ones.
As for the job in the store itself it is pretty damn cool. How I know this is I am the one working here from sun up to sun down. We are two guys that left the corporate world to follow a dream and I am thrilled every day that I get to work in either one of my stores to help provide products that make a positive difference in people’s lives. I frequently hear stories from my customers how they lost 100, 200, even 300 pounds and how the products I sell have changed their lives for the better. So this is not a big corporate bike store with employees that are bored out of their minds. I love every minute of every day that I am not sitting behind a desk or living out of a bag sitting in some airport waiting for yet another delayed flight.
Yes our Redmond location has some interesting and unique traffic flows but we all wear a lot of shoes here and there is not any down time where you have to “look busy” because we are busy. Properly servicing the customer takes time, effort and attention to detail and we are constantly moving to insure we meet our goals of excellent service. This location also offers us many amenities you don’t find in a typical bike shop which include a vast array of fantastic restaurants at our finger tips (try Chandy’s for amazing soups and sandwiches, Typoon for incredible Thai, and my long time Eastside haunt Acapulco Fresh), a spa/salon, Pike Place, a sports bar and an array of other great places I have not had a chance to try. This is also the first time I have had locker rooms, showers, and sports fields which support my active and commuting lifestyle.
To be clear we are a company that competed with other shops in teh area and won the opportunity to place our second store on this campus. Our services in Redmond are available to anyone with a Microsoft badge including vendors, their families and friends. So the commons project is a benefit to vendors as well as employees. We are not subsidized and we are not offering any special deals or pricing that we don’t offer in our other store with one exception. That exception is that we put on monthly clinics or seminars here to help educate our consumers which makes them better consumers and which helps grow the sports we love which benefits us all by having happier and healthier people in the community. This is really not an extra service as we tend to do this one-on-one in our Woodinville store. This Commons has so many more customers a group setting is a better use of our resources. Our value proposition is that we bring convenience, education and a high level of service to the local community. We also have the philosophy that we want to have fun at work and we compensate our employees well to keep and retain quality talent which allows us to offer a higher level of service which is our primary product. At the end of the day that is exactly what Microsoft is doing with the Commons project they are offering services that help attract and retain quality employees and which increase employee’s quality of life.
One of our other primary drivers we have is to help grow and to support commuting by bike. Microsoft has many other programs and subsidies to encourage commuting by bike and having our store//shop on campus is one yet one more. Is there anyone that would dispute that encouraging commuting by bike is a huge benefit to the community, the environment, and to the health and wellness of the commuter? Microsoft is doing the right thing here I am consistently amazed and the level of bashing that they endure. For instance many if not all of these building are LEED certified which if you are not familiar with makes these locations many times more environmentally friendly. Also the level at which Microsoft goes to separate their waste and to recycle I have never seen before and I have worked at some very large companies in my day. Maybe we could cut Microsoft a bit of slack here as they are doing some great things for their employees, vendors, the community, and the environment. Simply employing hundreds of thousands of people worldwide in today’s economy which creates many times that number of jobs in the community should be enough for people to offer a nod of thanks to Microsoft.
I hope they can fix my brakes tomorrow. In related news, let me take a second to say again that I sure do love that bike shop, Eastside Ski and Sport. Eastside Ski and Sport; for all your ski, snowboard, and cycling needs.