Zane’s Reinvents the Wheel

reinventcoverMany successful bicycle retailers have interesting origin stories, but very few openly lay out their operating philosophies and strategies for the rest of the world to see.

An exception is Chris Zane, owner of Zane’s Cycles in Branford Connecticut. His book Reinventing the Wheel traces his history in bicycle retail, getting his first tax ID number at age 12, buying his first bike shop at age 16, and building Zane’s Cycles into one of the largest bike shops in the country today.

The book is much more than a tale of one bicycle store owner’s history though. It presents great detail about his operating philosophies developed throughout the years.  The prominence of these sometimes “out of the box” concepts has also allowed Zane to move into a speaking and writing career beyond the bicycle industry.

The core of Zane’s philosophy is building customers for life. He has calculated that the average value of a lifetime customer to his business is $12,500. He writes, “that means that my average customer will spend $12,500 on my products and services over his or her lifetime, $5,000 of which is profit. Of course the only chance I have ever seeing that kind of return on the relationship is if that customer keeps coming back and back again. Better yet I want customers to come back with their kids their relatives and five friends.”

This big picture view has led him to look well beyond today’s transaction. It is the philosophical underpinning Continue reading “Zane’s Reinvents the Wheel”