Bert’s Bikes and Fitness has been a member of the Bike Co-op for more than 14 years, and we are thrilled to name them 2022’s Retailer of the Year. With this, Bert’s has received:
The criteria for Retailer of the Year are:
The Bike Co-op’s goal is to empower the local bike shops with the tools to survive and thrive. We talk to shops every day across the country and have a fantastic membership base. When considering who will be the next ROTY, a few things stick out about our experience with Bert’s:
“Can you share a brief history of your store? With that history in mind, what has been the greatest change you have experienced over the years?”
My Grandfather (Bert) got us into the bicycle business in 1952, he was a Wholesaler and a Retailer. He grew his business to 3 locations, but due to age and my father and Uncle Jim no longer working in the business, he sold in 1965. My father (also Bert!) felt he was done with bikes, but in 1972 he decided to get back in, working out of his garage, while working as a Buffalo Fire Fighter. My mother, Mary, was instrumental in growing this business, she was known as the Queen B. One year later, they bought a new house with a 3-car garage in the back and for the next 23 years operated out of the back yard. In 1983, we opened our 2nd location on Niagara Falls Blvd in the Town of Tonawanda. Today we operate 8 locations, our HQ is in a 33,000 sq ft facility in Orchard Park, Niagara Falls Blvd is still going strong and has seen several additions pushing the space to 14,000 sq ft, Williamsville is a 15,000 sq ft. store, Henrietta is a 23,000 sq. ft building and is the regional HQ for the Rochester market, Webster is 9,000 sq. Ft., Greece is 3,500 sq. ft., Lancaster is 5,700 sq. ft and Erie is 5,600 sq. ft. So, we cover Buffalo, Rochester, and Erie.
The greatest change I have experienced over the years is the proliferation of skus. When I was a kid growing up in the business in the 70s and 80s, there were not nearly as many categories, models, colors, and sizes. It was not all that hard to learn the entire Schwinn and Ross bike lineup. Today, there are so many different models, which makes training new folks a major challenge. It seems as if every niche is covered, but then something else comes out to address yet another niche. Remember when there were just Road Bikes and Mountain Bikes? Now Drop Bar bikes have several niche categories and Flat Bar Bikes have multiple variations, HardTail, Mid Fat, Fat, Cross Country, Enduro, Downhill, Dual Sport, Hybrid, Comfort… Every year something new pops up. And of course E-Bikes, lots of styles, models, sizes, colors with more on the way.