Bike shop owners worry about supply as business booms amid COVID-19
|globalnews.ca Yesterday 23 May 2020 at 12:58|
Hundred of bikes once hung from the vertical racks at Sweet Pete’s. More bikes stood side-by-side on the floor.
Now, there are a lot of empty hooks and plenty of floor space.
It might seem as if business is booming at the store amid COVID-19 . After all, more and more Canadians are looking to pedal power over public transit during the global pandemic, and parents are buying bikes for their cooped-up kids.
But owner Pete Lilly, who has three Sweet Pete’s shops in Toronto, is concerned about the company’s future. Because while bikes are leaving the store, few are coming in.
“It looks and feels like we’re going out of business,” Lilly said. “The cupboards are bare.”
Lilly’s store in west Toronto has stocked as many as 700 bikes at a time. Now, he has about 300. He’s closed his other two Toronto stores both due to staffing issues and a lack of merchandise largely caused by the global manufacturing lockdown.
“All the factories are back online now, but the lead times are so long that whatever we have right now is as much as we’re going to have until July,” said Lilly, who has owned Sweet Pete’s since 1997. “So it’s a little bit grim when you look up and down the row, and you’re like, ‘Wow, I’m used to seeing this stuffed with bikes and having a basement full of backup, and being able to call a supplier and have something here tomorrow, or two or three days if it’s coming from Vancouver.’