Performance looks to make big splash with Portland opening this weekend

Posted by on May 14th, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Performance will open at
SW 18th and Alder this weekend.
Google Street View)

Performance Bicycle, Inc., the nation’s largest chain of retail bike shops and a juggernaut in the industry with their online and catalog sales, will have a grand opening for their new downtown Portland store this weekend.

As we reported back in February, Performance will open their doors at 1736 SW Alder St. (just a few blocks from PGE Park).

To mark the occasion — and perhaps to try and make a big splash in a city with stiff bike shop competition (there are already about 10 shops in the downtown area) — Performance has unleashed a host of offers and events for this weekend. But unlike the usual discounts and free donuts, they’ve got some pretty big things planned.

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A press release said that “the bike market is BOOMING in Portland” and to celebrate, Performance will have their first annual “Bike Month Blowout”.

“We are delivering a new kind of retail experience that is fun, informative and easy to understand…For casual cyclists and beginners, we really want to demystify cycling.”
— Jim Thompson, CEO

Saturday and Sunday they’ll team with Seattle-based Alchemy Goods to host the “Bike Tube Blowout Drive” and they’ll give away thousands of dollars in prizes.

Claiming that five tons of rubber end up in Portland-area landfills every year as a result of people throwing away bicycle inner tubes (not sure where they got that statistic), the Performance folks will give you a $5 gift card in exchanged for your old tubes (and then give them to Alchemy to make stuff with).

They’ll also have “Spin Doctors” (a.k.a. mechanics) available to do a “Bike Maintenance Check-Up” (their quotes, not mine).

And here’s an ambitious promotion: They’ll launch a “Commuter Rewards Program” as part of their “commitment to environmental stewardship and quality of life in the communities it serves”. The program will give a $20 gift card to anyone (all “Portland-area business, non-profit and government workplaces are eligible to participate”) who bikes, walks, runs, or takes transit to work for at least 20 days (the press release didn’t mention a timeframe — do they realize they could go bankrupt doing this in Portland? ;-)).

Performance CEO Jim Thompson says that the new Portland store will deliver “A new kind of retail experience that is fun, informative, and easy to understand,” and that will “demystify cycling” for casual riders and newbies.

    Performance Bicycle Store Grand Opening
    1736 SW Alder St.
    The “bike tube blowout” will take place from 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday, May 16th and from 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday, May 17th

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steve
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steve

Alchemy is an incredible business model and makes some of the finest bags I have ever seen.

Performance, meh.

old&slow
Guest
old&slow

Even in this town there is getting to be way too many bike shops. I am sure this is starting to make it tough for anybody in the bike biz. I guess it is good for the consumer but bad for the employees in the shops that will probably go under due to this oversupply.

steve
Guest
steve

There are shops already laying off employees.

AT
Guest
AT

There’s a lot of shops in SE for sure, but they thin out pretty darn fast once you head to NE. I really wonder why it isn’t more evenly distributed.

naomi
Guest
naomi

Oh wow.. never heard of Performance but just checked out their site.. this is a -massive- chain! Me no likey.. I prefer supporting locals.

Schrauf
Guest

Almost any bike business is good business, but when I can afford it I shop local.

Having said that, a local store headquartered in North Carolina is still better than a solely online retailer.

dh
Guest
dh

Granted not everyone can take this view, but I figure if I can’t afford it locally then I can’t afford it.

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

Performance is hardly a “local store headquartered in North Carolina” — but the main reasons I don’t shop there are 1)non-biking employees 2)they sell stuff that wears out/ breaks quickly/ easily. It’s way better than buying bike gear at WalMart, but Performance doesn’t have a good selection either. I do find it ironic that a quintessential suburban / strip mall store is opening shop in an urban area. I pray that they will go under, just like New Seasons drove out Whole Foods on Division a few years back. Buy local!

Mark
Guest
Mark

I’m not pro-performance, but I do shop there on occasion and wanted to state inaccuracies:

Performance employees do ride. They sell some of the same high quality items as local shops, too. They also stand behind their products and will replace or return unsatisfactory items on the spot.

carless in pdx
Guest
carless in pdx

New Seasons didn’t put under Whole Foods on Division, Wild Oats was bought out by Whole Foods which subsequently closed several of their stores. Wild Oats was a local market company.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I’ve found Performance to outshine the local shops in many ways.

1. They carry more product in terms of components.

2. They sell clothing for a reasonable price. They sell most everything for a better price.

3. No questions asked returns policy.

4. Not in stock? Order from their catalog and have it delivered to the store for free.

5. They don’t treat you like a second class citizen if you aren’t spending $5K. A lot less attitude than the local shops.

6. Team Performance 10% back on all purchases in the form of coupons, much like REI.

They aren’t expanding because their other three stores are losing money.

Nothing wrong with a company creating employment opportunities.

andrew
Guest
andrew

What I don’t understand is for years I’ve worked at local Portland bicycle shops in service and have been cutting up and recycling tubes for Alchemy goods and never have a got a thank you, a free wallet, a sweet deal on a bag.

NOW they are partnering up with Performance, helping them roll out the red carpet!

Look out Alchemy! The bicycling industry and especially independent dealers are figuring out who their friends are and are becoming less shy about slapping the wrist of those that support the larger non-local competition that buy in volume and undercut everyone’s prices.

We all like to recycle, however, businesses may choose to no longer carry Alchemy product and/or subsidize Alchemy goods business with tubes and the labor of those shop employees who prepare those tubes. Local bike shops especially in Portland and Seattle have played a big role in helping to grow Alchemy’s business and this is how they show their appreciation.

Anyways, come on folks there are so many good local shops in Portland, and so many of them trying to survive in this economy. Please support people and businesses that keep their money in this city.

Helyettrider
Guest
Helyettrider

And if people want a real bike store they can just go up 10th St. to Bike Gallery.

maxadders
Guest
maxadders

Performance is okay. I shop there on occasion– I was tired of walking into “local” bike shops and being discouraged by the full MSRP prices.

They’re always running some sort of sale– tubes, tools and accessories are cheap, and I’ve found excellent deals on clothing and bags, too.

Their house-brand stuff usually works pretty well. I’ve got a couple thousand miles on a pair of Forte brand MTB slicks. They rarely, if ever go flat. I paid $6.95 apiece, and they’re almost as reliable as the $35 flat-resistant ones by the big brands.

The Spin Doctor brand tools are decent. And if you don’t think their design is up to snuff– they carry a wide selection of Park as well. Let’s face it: I’m not wealthy. The difference between a $35 dollar tool and the $18 can determine whether or not I finish a project before my next paycheck.

While I’d never go there for repairs or expert advice, they’re fine for accessories. And they’re selling bikes that are considerably better than the Wal-Mart level ones that a lot of people start out with, so what’s so bad about that?

If the elitist local shops won’t stoop to the level of serving everyday people, someone’s gonna.

beth h
Guest

While creating employment is *always* an upside of a new business moving into a neighborhood, I’d like to know how many LOCALS Performance has hired for this store, and how many employees they recruited from out of state to move here and work for them. Do they pay a true living wage (based on the real cost of living in Portland — which is more expensive than living in Raleigh, NC) and/or provide other benefits to their employees?

Also, many of Portland’s older, established small shops are known for specialties that other shops can’t provide. For instance, will Performance overhaul my 40-year-old, Sturmey-Archer three-speed hub? Do they have the replacement parts required to do so? Will they straighten my old, slightly-bent steel fork or seat-stay, or will they — like another service area in a large national chain just down the street from them — tell me that, for insurance reasons, they cannot provide any frame-realignment services? This is a service that many of Portland’s smaller bike shops still provide, without similar constraints determined at a distance by a HQ and its legal department.

These questions are worth noting. While I wish the best of luck to *any* new bike business in Portland, long-term effects — and results — of Performance’s new downtown presence remain to be seen.

KruckyBoy
Guest
KruckyBoy

I have found the Mall 205 Performance staff exceedingly friendly and helpful. I never have gotten any attitude, and it is the only store in town (and I shop at a lot regularly) where they know me by name. Some of their stuff isn’t so great, some of it is excellent, and if you get stuff on sale their prices are unbeatable. They also have certain products you can’t get anywhere else (like my E3 saddle which I love). It is one of many stores I shop, but I give performance a huge thumbs up. Can’t wait to check out the new location.

paul
Guest
paul

I love my local bike shop (Bike n’ Hike Beaverton), and I’ve been a regular customer there for over 20 years. I always bring the bike restoration work that I cant handle on my own (head set removals, frame facing, thread chasing, etc.). Sometimes I stop in for advice. I always purchase something when I’m there(cable, brake pads, lube).

That said, I’ve found Performance stores to be uniformly good places to shop. The prices are always fair for what they sell. The business model is ala radio shack and if you wait for the inevitable sale on whatever you want the prices are outstanding. There’s a reason that Performance has so many successful franchisees. Like it or not, the market has shown that this is a very good business model.

If local stores find Performance’s buying power difficult to compete with, they should form a cooperative so that they can negotiate better prices from distributors,or source their own products from manufacturers.

Finally, I believe that most of the local Performance stores are locally-owned franchises. Those of you who buy from the web know that you can get your stuff shipped to the local shop for free. When you do that, the local shop doesn’t make any money. Pick something up when you’re in the store. That a franchisee has chosen to go with a proven business model doesn’t negate the fact of local ownership. They deserve our support as well.

Brian Johnson
Guest
Brian Johnson

Regarding comment #13 and “real” bike shops– I’ve been treated poorly and ignored despite purchasing “big ticket” items. “Local” doesn’t always mean better!

Furthermore, some of Performance Bike’s “house brand” clothing and accessories are manufactured in the US.

Compare that to high-priced clothing manufactured overseas and then shipped here. I can see that larger “carbon footprint”. Performance made in USA is “more local” than Showers Pass made in China.

I have four local bike shops. I spend money at each one. Lakeside, Bike Gallery, REI and Performance. They don’t all stock the same things and they don’t all sell for the same price. Choice is good.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Didn’t appreciated the patronizing tone of this article.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Paul,

Sorry but, Performance stores are not franchises. All stores are owned and run by the Performance in Chapel Hill, NC.

Whether you buy at the store or through the catalog the money goes to Chapel Hill.

The store does record the sale if you order the item over the Red Phone, but pay at the store.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Paul,

Sorry but, Performance stores are not franchises. All stores are owned and run by the Performance in Chapel Hill, NC.

Whether you buy at the store or through the catalog the money goes to Chapel Hill.

The store does record the sale if you order the item over the Red Phone, but pay at the store.

Pete
Guest
Pete

“I’d like to know how many LOCALS Performance has hired for this store, and how many employees they recruited from out of state to move here and work for them.”

I’d like to know how many LOCALS are actually from Portland! 😉

Vance Longwell
Guest

Pete #22 – Hehe. 9% of adults over 25 in the state of Oregon have lived here 10 years or more. Oddly, the concentration of locals is still the W valley.

I was born in Portland, lived here off-and-on for 40 years, and helped define Portland culturally in the 90s. That’s the Portland that attracted most of these people. It’s like a supplied my own demise.

I’m taking this from a book, as soon as I find a link…

David
Guest

Do I detect a degree of “sarcasm” in the article?

Kt
Guest
Kt

#11, unlike REI, you can use that 10% back as a credit on a future purchase– even if your next purchase is the next day! No waiting until the end of the year to get your dividend check.

Why I like my local Performance:

Employees who ride. They don’t treat me like an idiot woman rider. Good work, nice guys. Sales every other day. Somewhat good selection, unless you’re looking for women-specific items, but then I go to Team Estrogen for that sort of stuff. Oh, and my local PB is around the corner from my work! 🙂 And that 10% back thing, that’s a lot of fun.

What I don’t like: poor selection of women-specific items like clothing, shoes, etc.

JJ Ark
Guest
JJ Ark

funny…I needed a ride, so rode from my house out to the opening on Sunday. It looked like every other Performance I have been to. Exactly the same.

My X was the only bike out front, but I did see one other locked up at the indoor parking spot near checkout. However, the place was *packed*…at least 40 people when I was there. I saw a bunch of folks fighting for parking spots…which make sense given how awkward the location is.

The service was nice. I bought a tool no one else had in my budget–I try to reserve my $$ for my local shops whenever possible, but this tool was 50 at Performance, and 200+ dollars in my LBS — out of my price range.

So afterwards, my roomie and I went shopping and she needed to pick up a new lock. We went to A Better Cycle, and spent a bunch there as well.

the following two exchanges sum it up for me:

Dude at Performance: “Can I help you find anything?”

Ian at Better: “Hey, JJ! Hows it going?”

Performance has always been way off my beaten path, seemed rather sterile, and vaguely unsatisfying. All in all, I think my local shops have a better selection of almost everything…especially if you do cargo riding (like I do.)

Speedster
Guest
Speedster

Beth,

Although I haven’t been to this store,I’m pretty sure they won’t get away with importing labor from out of state, paying relocation costs and then undercutting the employees. Bike shop labor is cheap right now in PDX, lots of people to choose from, and if they want full time employees they’ll have to pay them the local wage.