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I'm opening a shop down here in Bridgeport, so, what would you like it to be like?

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Consider it done
Tati offered a nice fine tea 2 years ago and great service. Even one of the busiest shops in the city (Yojimbos Garage) is run by someone who takes the time to answer even the basic questions to people who probably won't buy anything in the shop. That's why nearly 100% of my purchases go to that shop.
Go Owen!

Last summer we set up a stand on the sidewalk for on the spot repairs without any complaints -- and this is in a location where we see several dozen police officers a day pass by every day. This year I'll try pushing the limits a bit with a cafe table, umbrella, and lemonade. The limits of a small shop are trying, and getting folks to congregate outside instead of inside is kind of key. There's still tea and more recently, hand ground coffee.

The only significant downside is that I am washing dishes now more than I'm degreasing chains...
You might consider hosting club meetings for either a small fee or a pay-what-you-like/pass-the-hat amount charged to the organizer. I have a friend who brought people into her bookstore this way. Then she printed half-sheet calendars of upcoming events and talks. EcoBooks of Brooklyn NY - the Green Party and MANY groups grew because of it - a community hub. Then the Real Estate bubble led her landlord to push her out with big rent hikes. Hope his store is empty now.

Also, if you will be selling bikes, learn how to truly fit them to people. I had a guy sell me a bike sized according to my height. But turns out, with an extra long torso, my bike's too small and I'm riding hunched over even after all possible bike adjustments. grrr
We'd like to host meeting. As everything comes together I'm really hoping we have the space.
Fit is a nuanced and complex thing sometimes. Apart from the person's body proportions, there is the riding style, and the available bikes within the persons budget. Them there is a process that a lot of riders go through of dialing in the fit of the bike after purchase, usually swapping out stems and handlebars if need be. In the end I could build a frame for the rider, but that is often times prohibitavely expensive. We'll certainly try our hardest to get good fit, after all, that's going to get people to ride.
Somewhere secure people (prospective customers, etc.) can lock their bikes up conveniently & easily.
I've had the city install quite a few parking meters for just that reason.

I also called 311 last week to request bike racks, but I'm starting to think that I should have tried a more direct call to the person(s) that handle that stuff . . .
Here's wishing you and Clare all the success in the world!

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