Monday, October 25, 2010

Winter plans.

Saturday was pretty slow at the shop.  We are in the calm period before the storm of Mukluks is due to hit in two weeks or so.  The weather has turned cold and fall-like enough that for most people their season is over.  We've had uncharacteristically warm and sunny weather for October and it's keep people coming in the doors longer than usual.   With this week's turn to clouds, rain, and even snow in the forecast for Thursday that side of things will pretty much be over.

We are entering the time of year that projects happen.  For us winter is never quite as dull as one would seem.  Last year we made huge changes in the shop itself.  We completely repainted things.  We added a changing room and started the kitchen area.  We had a new door put in at the back entrance.  We added new graphic signs to the windows and doors.  These and many other things kept us busy in the time at which normal shop work would not have.

This winter already has it's share of projects slated for completion.  We intend on finishing the kitchen area this winter.  Plans are in place for a hand washing/food prep sink and for an actual counter top to be installed.  I would also like to have a new checkout counter for the store made and installed.  There is some little painting I would like to complete on the sales floor, and there is a ton to do downstairs.  We are also in the planning stages of putting in a ceramics/clay studio for my wife in the basement of the shop.  This is something we've been contemplating for a long time, and it seems like now is an appropriate time to do it.

Even while all this construction/painting work is going on, we have big plans for the retail space as well.  We are adding some much needed products to our shelves in the coming months.  These are things like our bike camping section, our ski wax and tool section, and a nutrition section.  All of these are things that are going to be completely new arrivals to the shop.  They represent different areas that we would like to branch out to so as to better serve the needs of our local customers.  All of these are also things that will hopefully bring us up to better compete with bigger local shops.  These changes are set to coincide with the delivery of our 2011 Salsa Cycles lineup.  Throw all of these things together and we should have a pretty impressive array of products ready to rock come spring of 2011.

Winter is also the time of fun custom bike builds.  Many of our customers wait for the cold wind's long embrace to set to work on long time frame custom stuff.  This year has already started to see that with the tentative order for three bikes by a gentleman and his wife on Saturday.  These kinds of things are never over until they are said an done, but if it works out, these will be some of the nicest bikes ever to leave the doors of the shop.  With the coming of Salsa's new Titanium bike line up to the shop, I anticipate more bikes of this level of builds going out the door.  It's been since we had Titus bikes in the shop that such beautiful frames will be around for display.  I very much look forward to the Ti bike arrival.  It's going to bring a lot of stunning stuff in the shop along with it.

In the immediate future we have the impending excitement of Mukluks.  I am trying to work things out so that we will be able to receive all of our Muks at one time, as opposed to waiting for them to trickle in.  If this turns out to be possible, we are going to throw a party!  I think the idea of a Mukluk release party is a prefect way to usher in what promises to be a hell of a winter season around here!  I will have more information as it develops.  As is stands now, we are thinking of a pot luck type end of year celebration.  We have been looking for an excuse to have everyone down and grill up a big ole Nerstrand ham.  Who knows, maybe we'll have enough people to need two!

Since there will be so many fatbikes around this winter, we are also planning on having fatbike group rides.  This promises to get more people out exploring places they may not have, and will also provide people with opportunities to try out fatbikes for themselves.  We are in the planning stages of setting these up, but the basic ideas have been formed.  Rather than starting from the shop every time, we are planning on hosting rides at different areas across southern MN and the Twin Cities.  We plan on having some sort of beverages/food available and possibly bonfires depending on location availability.  This should be a combination of our Wednesday Night socials and our regular group rides.  It should give us a lot flexibility to ride where conditions are best, and should allow us to throw some quality winter camping and other things in there as well. 

I am more excited about this winter season that for any other one I can remember.  There are so many cool things happening right now it's almost overwhelming.  All in all this is going to be one hell of a ride.  Spring may actual be a nice slowdown from winter!  Thanks for following us on yet another season of adventure at Milltown.  We're glad to have you along.  Have a good week folks.  



Bill G said...

I need to relocate!

Ben said...

My mother in law's a Realtor. ;)

Lemme know...

Jerry said...

pretty cool stuff Ben. You and Curtis are really great to work with. fat tired bikes and hats for fatheads should make a fun winter.

that basement scares me though. I swear I saw a Yeti down there and I'm not referring to a bike. could have been a wookie.

who would have thought my favorite place to eat dinner would be a bike shop.

Don said...

Mukluk release party: great idea!

JTC said...

Count me in - a Mukluk release party sounds perfect.. A beverage, some grilling, and bunch of people talking Mukluk set-up. (Im trying not to look at the pics of the Phil hubs for monetary reasons.) Anyway, look forward to the arrival of my frame. Also hope that the fat bike group rides come together.
Jim C.

Apertome said...

I really wish we had a shop here (southern Indiana) that did even a fraction of the cool stuff you guys do. Looking forward to reading about these events!

Anonymous said...

Fat bike rides leaving from the twin cities would be excellent. We have a lot of people down here with them and it is always fun to some type of group ride with them. I look forward to that.

Wally Kilburg said...

The shop there in Faribault is first rate. I've made the journey and plan to make it many times over. It IS a cool bike shop, being made cooler all the time.