A blue button that says "bruce gordon was nice to me," clamped lightly in a vice.

Bruce Gordon’s retail store opening

I sent an email around to the cyclists at work, alerting them to the Bruce Gordon Retail Space Grand Opening, with the caveat that “he has a reputation as a curmudgeon, but he’s always been nice to me.”

I laughed out loud when Bruce came through passing out tiny buttons that said “Bruce Gordon Was Nice To Me!!” He had bags of them, and a pin press for making them.

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

Someone told me that earlier in the day, Ross Shafer had taken one, looked at it and handed it back. “I can’t take this, Bruce, you’ve NEVER been nice to me!” Apparently they were an answer to pins he’d made years ago, saying “Bruce Gordon Was Rude To Me.” My friend Mark showed me one later, along with a BG Cycles pocket protector.

Bruce Gordon Cycles "where the touring nerd is king." POCKET PROTECTOR!

I’ve met Bruce at a couple bike shows, but introduced myself as a friend of some of his old Dempsey’s friends (see above). After hearing some good Bruce stories (“You can’t afford one of my bikes – CLICK”) around the (Dempsey’s Red Rooster and PSA) beer kegs, it seems that a beer connection might start things off on a much better footing than a bike connection.

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

The bikes are great. I saw them at a NAHBS, and bought a CD of excellent photos of them (“I paid five dollars for a HEINEKEN on the train – I think I can buy a $5 CD of bike pictures.”) It was very cool to see them in a smaller venue (if you will).

The retail space is extremely small, with Two Fish, White Industries, Bruce Gordon and Honjo items for sale. Nice stuff. MOAR!

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

After looking at all the bikes twice, once for the overall effect of 37 years of bikes, one bike a year, all in Bruce’s size, and then again to see the details, I drifted around the shop space, then hung out by the keg as the head of the Sonoma County Bike Coalition held court.

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

Integrated seat mast?
Bruce Gordon, 1977.

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

Road-going fixed gear? Single brake, bell, light, rack?
Bruce Gordon, 1980

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

Green tigerstripe mountain bike with a fastback seat cluster?
Bruce Gordon, 1983

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

Flintstones bike?
Bruce Gordon, 1,000,000 BC

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

In addition to bikes, I like shops.

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

There was some cool engine-fancy happening. My first car was an MGB, my dad had (has) a Triumph motorcycle, Angelina has a Vespa, and we were married in a hearse, so I had some things to talk about on that front, too.

Bruce Gordon retail store opening
Bruce Gordon retail store opening
Bruce Gordon retail store opening
Bruce Gordon retail store opening

Around the kegs, we chatted about hiding new bicycles in friends’ garages, Cadillac engines vs flathead Fords, and how long people keep riding the same bicycle. Gary (king of the tap) said, “My wife is still riding the bike I made for her when I owned Merlin.”

“What?”

Oh.

I chatted with Maurice Tierney (he lives around here now), and he encouraged me to contact the new Dirt Rag art director, and maybe do some more illustrations for them. I said I would, but I haven’t.

Yet.

4 thoughts on “Bruce Gordon’s retail store opening”

  1. Thanks for the nice write-up and coming to my Opening.
    I’m still looking for help running the shop and do Marketing (which I have never been good at).
    Anyone interested – give me a call.
    Regards,
    Bruce Gordon

    1. I had a great time. I wish I’d written down the names of the people I chatted with.
      I think your marketing (buttons, word-of-mouth) is very good. You have a legend. I think you could use a contrasting person or persona that kind of runs interference for the Bruce who doesn’t suffer fools. It could be as simple as a contact email called TheNiceGuy@BGcycles.com. When you respond to emails to that address, use phrases like “I don’t see the utility of that approach,” instead of “that’s stupid.” That puts the burden of proof on them make a case for what they want, you can counter with what they need, and maybe sell them a bike. If they don’t buy a bike, they may go away thinking, “He’s totally right.” They might tell other people.
      If I were looking to hire a retail manager, I’d see if anyone at The Bike Peddler was interested.
      I might even explore a deeper relationship with that business, maybe have them handle ALL that retail crap, with a focus on the custom and independent products. “Colored cable housing by the foot? We got it.” “All California build kit? No problem.”
      I might carry (or have on order) independent production frames that complement the Rock ‘n Road. Boulder, Black Mountain, for instance. I might hire an intern out of UBI to do frame repairs and modifications, and promote that service to Bay Area shops. “We can send that to Bruce Gordon for repair” seems like it would be worth a premium.
      Just spinning out ideas… they all take money and commitment, and carry a risk of failure.

      I’ll pass the word around that you’re looking.

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