April 22, 1994
R & E Cycles
5601 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
Attn: Estelle Gray
Recently I decided to take action on the long-held desire to buy a mountain bike, so I stopped in to Mountain Bike specialists to take a look at what is available and to gather information.
I'm writing to tell you what a great job your people do. Jeanne helped us (Heather, my girlfriend, was with me) in determining what models fit the price range, sizing us and all the usual stuff that goes along with introducing someone to a sport. I guess the outstanding image that I have is realizing the amount of effort she (and the bike mechanics) are willing to expend to get the right combination. Actually, I left almost feeling a little guilty for putting them through the all the work they did.
I appreciated that she encouraged us to go for a long test-ride and to use the bike hard during the ride. I also appreciated that she juggled talking to both Heather and I at the same time without passing over either of our needs or questions. And I appreciated that she didn't talk down to us even thought she obviously has lots of experience on a level that we probably never will.
Before coming back, I stopped in at a couple of other local bike shops to compare. In the first one, the manager greeted me, but rather than dealing with me immediately she sent out a young fellow who seemed like a nice kid, but I had the impression that he was cutting his "sales eyeteeth" on me. Felt like being relegated to the back row at a show.
The second one (with all the plaques for being among Americals best bike stores displayed near the entry) ignored me for about 10 minutes. The person who finally helped me gave me the clear impression that it was a bit beneath him to waste his time with someone who was as ignorant and low-budget as I. (Looking-over-his-shoulder-to-see-if-anyone-more-important-comes-in syndrome.) Even if they had a bike for me, I wouldn't have bought it there.
I didn't even want to go to the third place because it was owned by the same folks as the second, and I didn't want to support their attitude. As it turned out, a really helpful woman there found me a bike consistent with what I found at MBS, but after reading their ' test-ride restrictions I felt nervous just to take the bike out of the store. And there was neither time allowed nor encouragement to really "test" the mountain bike under conditions in which I would use it.
In any case, no one came close to the energy and attitude of Jeanne, and it was pretty obvious I'd get my bike from her because you guys were obviously willing to do whatever it took to meet my needs.
I came in a couple days early to pick it up (couldn't wait!) and knowing that Jeanne wouldn't be there, I was curious if I'd get the same attitude and service help from someone else. Max helped me with my accessories, and was every bit as competent and helpful as Jeanne. I was particularly impressed with how he handled other customers who needed help without makeing me feel second-class.
Made me realize that some positive things go on there at your place -- obviously you get awfully good people. But I've been in an outdoor retail situation enough to know that it all flows from the top as well. And so my compliments to you. You're doing a great job, and I'm sure it will continue for you. I've already begun to spread the word with friends and acquaintances at work, and I plan to continue to do so.
P.S. By the way, I know you sell bike racks for cars -- and I'll be in to get one soon -- but I was sort of wondering if you also carry bike barges to tow behind a sea kayak?