New owner at Swain Sports
New owner Mark Pritchard said the biggest change will be evident in the realm of customer service. For local customers, there will be free pick-up and delivery of bikes.
“You won’t have any worry about parking. Just give us a call. We’ll be there to get your bike and then will bring it back when its ready, a day or two later,” Pritchard said. There will be no charge for locations in Geneseo and close by.
When summer weather arrives, there will be club rides and group rides leaving the store every Wednesday. These events will be for various levels of ridership: beginning, intermediate and racers, all of whom Pritchard and other experienced riders will be accompanying.
“If you just bought a bike on Monday, on Wednesday you’ll have someplace to ride and people with ride with,” Pritchard said. These will be ‘no drop ‘ rides. Everyone will stay within eyesight of each other and no one will be left behind.
One hundred bikes are presently in stock. Pritchard anticipates new deliveries over the next few weeks which will double that number.
Of the three basic bike styles, Swain Sports II has all three: mountain bikes for riding on dirt trails, hybrid bikes for family riding and commuting, and aerodynamic road bikes for speed on pavement, used for fitness and racing.
Bikes have a wide range of prices, at Swain as low as $275 or as high as $7,500. A person considering a bike which will be seeing regular use should be spending in the $800-to-$1000 range.
“I’m not a salesman,” Pritchard confides. “I’d rather see a person spending a little more on their bike and growing into it rather than selling them a basic bike and seeing them back here soon, looking for something better.”
“It isn’t an upsell. We recommend the mid-range bike because we all ride and we know it’s the better deal. You get what you pay for.”
Pritchard also plans to stock more seasonal clothing, including Northface, Under Armour and Columbia brands. Workout clothing is available. There is also a good stock of accessories which include local team swimwear, specialty footwear, sunglasses, paintballs, mouth and shin guards, cross country skis, snowshoes; and hats, socks and gloves. Swain also repairs tennis and racketball rackets.
Pritchard has been working for Swain since the early 1990s, starting when the store was located in the Geneseo Commons plaza. He continued under Ken Emerson with the moves up Route 20A and then to Main Street.
Pritchard envisions no further moves.
“We’re small; we’re personable — We’re a Main Street business,” he stated. “People can walk in and find a little of anything.”
“Up at the plaza, we were a distention ship. Here, we’re tied in with what’s going on in the community. Festivals, sidewalk sales and parent weekends are good ways for people walking by to see us and find out we’re here.”
Pritchard does have the biggest window display frontage on Main Street.
For the most part, the college students are the store’s clothing and footware customers and the townspeople are his bike customers. Bicycling, which is the biggest part of Swain’s business, has the heart of its season during the time students are not at college.
“The biggest thing we’re looking to do is service,” Pritchard emphasized. “We know people can go to Dicks and Wal-Mart, but they can’t match our service.”
The notion that a comparable bike can be purchased cheaper in Monroe County than in Geneseo is a myth, Pritchard asserts — and he invited anyone who suspects otherwise to check out the prices at Bert’s, Park Avenue or other shops. Indeed, you’ll probably find the same bike is $50 less at Swain Sports II.
“I’m trying to get the Livonia or Avon customer who can drive either way,” Pritchard explained. “I make the price affordable and then concentrate on the service: what we can do for the customer after the purchase. I want my customers to keep riding, to be comfortable on the bike and to be happy about the sale. If there is any problem at all, come back and we will work on it.”
New bike purchasers at Swain Sports II receive a one-year warranty.
“Bring it in as many times as you want to,” Pritchard said. “We’ll make sure its adjusted, tightened, safe and running properly.”
Riders are advised to bring their bike in for routine servicing and tune-up once yearly. Cost is $49.99, but if you have a bike in need of a tune up, this would be a good time to take advantage of the store’s grand opening special price of $29.99. It will only run for three weeks.
New store manager and former mechanic Mike Duke has a tenure at Swain just about as long as Pritchard. Both have been there 18 years.
“We know our clientele and we know the bikes inside and out,” Pritchard asserted.
The new, seven-day-a-week extended store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.