Dear C4 Family,
We are so thankful for C4 and all enthusiastic cyclists like yourselves, and wanted to take a moment to thank you for your continued support.
Those of you that have patiently understood and worked with us during this time, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This year has certainly been challenging for everyone! We wanted to share with you a little of what we have been experiencing and continue to experience, thru 2022 due to the Covid 19 pandemic. To say our industry has been overwhelmed and the supply chain crippled during this past year is an understatement.
The mandatory stay at home orders and government lockdowns caused traditional non-cyclists to want to experience cycling. That's actually a great thing! This resulted in bike sales soaring globally. Locally, our bike sales soared too, and our inventory was quickly depleted. Within a 4 week time, the entire 2020 bike inventory worldwide was sold out! This was not just our store, but every bike store in every country in the world.
Our industry - like most others in retail - was not designed to handle an international surge like this. This industry is still experiencing many challenges, which probably won’t be resolved until 2022 or later. Bike companies pushed up their 2021 production, but there were many obstacles holding back normal production. At first, with entire countries locked down, factories were shut down, component manufacturers were shut down, and it snowballed into huge delays. Once production was able to begin again, there were, and still are, component shortages due to every bike company trying to build bikes. There is also a fight for shipping containers to bring product to the US. Once it arrives, freight liners have back logs due to ports being closed from the virus, or the port is over-crowded and ships have to wait to unload. Even the unloading process is delayed, as the freight companies are so overwhelmed the normal 3-7 day time frame is taking two to three weeks.
In addition to new bike shortages, when people discovered they couldn't purchase bikes, they began pulling out old bikes from their garage to make them ridable. Most of these bikes had outdated components, dry-rotted tires and tubes, bad wheels, you name it. It needed to be replaced to make it safe to ride. This led to repair parts being back ordered, and in turn, longer turn-around times for repairs. We know many of you experienced this and we appreciate your patience during that time. It wasn't just hundreds, but thousands of bikes that have been brought in for service. We had to rethink how we serviced bikes to be fair to all customers. We found ourselves using our showroom for repair storage due to the high volume of repairs we had.
We tried to keep turnaround times to a minimum, doing what we could. We hired new staff members and even former staff members to try to keep up with the demand, but still found ourselves with 4-6 week turnaround times. We closed to the public several days and extra hours during the week, but continued to work behind the scenes round the clock on service work to try and best serve our customers.
The good news is, our service department is back to quicker turnaround times!
We are also able make appointments again so you can continue to ride your bike with less down time, especially if you are training for events that have finally opened up.
Another good thing is there are so many new cyclists who this past year have been introduced, or reintroduced to cycling. We were able to share with them what a great local club we have here, which hopefully led to some new faces joining C4.
We are far from perfect. Every day, our entire team comes to work ready to take on the challenge of these crazy times. Our employees keep the business going. This is how we roll! Somehow, through all of this uncertainty, they continue trying their very best to keep you riding.
Please continue to be patient with us. Things are taking way WAY longer than normal to handle, as parts are much harder to find. We are working tirelessly to find bikes, parts and components for repairs and services. When our regular vendors are out of stock, we are exhausting all of our options. We are still receiving shipments of bikes weekly, so if you are thinking of going with something new this year, we can search our backorders and let you know when we may expect what you are looking for.
We have always tried very hard to provide the best possible service to you, and are eager to (when things get back to normal) get back to being able to provide the same level of service as we did pre pandemic. Your patience and understanding as we continue to work through this is greatly appreciated. Without a doubt, we are very lucky to have the support of cyclists like you.
Again, we thank you for your patience and look forward to a great 2021 year.
Mark and Sandy Hawley
Hawley’s Bicycle World