canada goose jas

Another one of the “Good Guys”

Yes, his name is really spelled that way!

When I was growing up, my grandfather used to refer to some people by saying, “he was a good guy”.  I’m not sure what lead me to understanding what he was referring to, but somehow I inherently knew what that meant.  It had something to do with being nice, honest,  genuine, and truly caring about people around him.  Being a “good guy” was about the person’s character, not just about their performance.

This weekend, Fitzgerald’s is losing one of our “good guys”, Micheal Woodruff.  We are so happy for the opportunity in front of him, and are thankful we’ll still get to see him regularly up at Grand Targhee as he takes on his new role as the Summer and Winter rental shop manager.  This is a great professional move for Michael and we’re here cheering him on!

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been celebrating the lives of friend’s we’ve lost all too soon.  Well, I want to take a minute to celebrate one of the “good guys” we still have right in front of us.  If you’ve been in Fitzy’s over the last 3 years, you have certainly been affected by the big smile, and welcoming laugh of Micheal.  You’ve probably walked away from the shop feeling a bit more stoked for having interacted with a bike mechanic who might have acted a little different than his outward appearance lead you to expect.  A rough and tumble exterior can’t mask his jovial nature more than a second or two!

Over my 20 years in the retail bike business, I’ve come across a lot of mechanics and developed a pretty strong idea of what makes someone a “pro” mechanic and not just a “good” mechanic.  A pro mechanic of course has deep technical knowledge and can trouble shoot everything from a coaster brake to the latest electronic shifting parts.  But a good mechanic can do that too.  What separates the good, from the pro, in my humble opinion, is the ability to connect with customers.  In the heat of battle, when a mechanic’s back is against the wall and the pressure is on to fix more bikes than hours in the day allow, the pro mechanic continues to greet each customer with genuine enthusiasm and concern for their situation.  The laughs and smiles come just as easy, and the customer walks away feeling that their problems are now truly the mechanics problems too.   You can train for the technical knowledge, but it takes being a “good guy” at heart to reach the pro status.

Micheal is the definition of the pro mechanic.  Greeting most customers by name (even if he hasn’t worked with them in years), remembering little details about their bikes, staying late to get someone out of town for a road trip, coming in on days off to tie up loose ends, and sharing a belly laugh along with bike maintenance advice are just a few of the things he does with ease.  Does he get frustrated like the rest of us?  Sure, how could you be human and not be frustrated as a bike mechanic from time to time?  But having the ability to keep the customer stoked and happy amidst the frustration is what matters.  Micheal has that skill down to a T!

This weekend is the last time we’ll have Mr. Woodruff spinning wrenches and cracking jokes behind the service counter at Fitzy’s.  Come by and let him know how much he means to you if you get the chance.  Take a minute to celebrate the awesomeness of someone right in front of you!  Reflect on what it means to be a good guy, and give some stoke back to the one who delivers it more than anyone.

Thanks for the years of awesome service Micheal!

The Transparent Bike Shop

Over the years I have spent a lot of time thinking “what is it all about?”.  Why do I run a bike shop?  What are we trying to accomplish?  And WHY does Fitzgerald’s Bicycles exist?  Our Mission Statement came out of these thoughts years ago and has been a guiding light for us, “Fitzgerald’s Bicycles exists to Grow Support for Cycling, the Success of our Community, and Respect for the Planet”.

But there has been something missing in the ways in which we broadcast that message.  Often, it feels awkward to speak about the reasons behind the life Jannine and I have chosen and the business that supports it.  I’m not really sure why, but I find myself falling into old patterns of talking more about the cool products we sell than the reasons Why we sell them.  Well, I’m looking to break that pattern so here is the first in a series of blog posts that attempt to speak openly and honestly about Why we exist, How we operate, and What we sell – “The Transparent Bike Shop”.

The Transparent Bike Shop concept is born from our ‘Why’:

  • We believe that Bicycles provide incredibly powerful and inspiring experiences to those who ride them.
  • We believe these experiences lead to healthier, more connected communities that are founded on a deep respect for our natural world and the people in it.
  • We believe that stronger communities, built from a cycling lifestyle, can transform the world.
  • We believe Local Bike Shops Build Community.

Local Bike Shops build Community and just as importantly, Communities build Local Bike Shops.  This two way street of support can be even stonger if you have a greater understanding of what makes the shop tick.  My intention is to bring you into a conversation about HOW a bike shop operates and more importantly WHY it operates.  I hope I can keep up with this intention as the season ramps up and our lives get crazy.  That will be way easier if you engage – let me know what you think!

After all, what is the purpose of a blog?  We think the purpose is to let you know what we think, and what we feel, and then bring you into a conversation about it.

Comment here, email us, post to our Facebook… join the conversation.