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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Casualties of the Economy?

Recently I was surprised to learn of two local bicycling-related establishments that went out of business presumably due to bad economic times. Well, one is loosely cycling-related and still has its doors open but DID stop making its namesake product.

Buzzard’s Bay Brewing Company – Westport, MA

I wanted to pick-up some of their excellent craft-brewed lager beer to bring to my brother-in-law in NJ in a couple of weeks, and when I went to their website to refresh my memory on where the beer is sold I learned they stopped brewing the beers under the Buzzard’s Bay label! That really shocked me…their brews were award winning. Apparently they slipped from brewing 5,000 barrels a year in 2002 to ONLY 100 barrels in 2009. That’s the bad news. The good news is the brewery is still open with a shift in approach to being a contract brewer plus focusing on a new line of small batch American inspired ales made with all domestic ingredients. The new brew will be sold under the label Just Beer. Moby D and John Beere are their first two offerings. I might have to post a review after I try them.

Village Bicycle – Westport, MA

Although I did not frequent this bike shop, this was another shocker for me. Jim Lebelle seemed to have his finger on the pulse of current cycling and lifestyle trends. In addition to the standard bike shop fare, he was offering nutritional products along with diet/fitness plans and last winter had started-up an indoor cycling training center. He ran what I call a progressive bike shop… listening to his customers …bringing in new products...renting bikes…organizing routine shop rides and special events. I have no details on what factors conspired to do him in…presumably it was related to the recession. I only saw online that he posted a closure notice on the store website on Christmas Eve.

That’s the second LBS that I know of in as many years to close its doors. The other one was Epicycle here in North Attleboro (former sister store to East Providence Cycle). Sad.

My blog postings should increase now that I’ve healed and have my mind set on an early start to the 2010 cycling season.

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