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This Moncton Boy Grew Up To Own One Of North America’s Best Bike Shops

Rick Snyder was just a 10-year-old who loved his BMX when he first encountered the cycling industry. Little did he know that decades later, he and his wife Heather would own one of North America’s Best Bike Shops, according to the National Bicycle Dealer’s Association.

“I’ve been in the bike business for 40 years, it’s all I’ve ever done. So, I learned over the years what is successful, what’s not successful. You learn a lot about how you want to be treated when you’re in a store. I take notes of that when I’m in a store,” Snyder said.

Mike’s Bike Shop has been the only Canadian shop in the ranking of 165 stores for three years since 2016. It was most recently recognized again in August based on a questionnaire submission and a “secret shopper” report. The stores are rated on everything from cleanliness to how quickly and how well they respond to Facebook messages.

The business has earned many accolades – another one being one of the Canadian Cyclist Magazine’s Bike Shop of the Year for the Atlantic region from 2013 to 2017. That’s an award based on online votes.

Snyder says being recognized has been “extremely humbling.”

“It tells me and most importantly my staff, that all your hard work pays off. All the kind things you do, all the things you do to make customers feel like they’re the very most important pays off,” he said.

Snyder and his wife bought Mike’s Bike Shop 15 years ago with a 3,500-square-foot store, but they soon outgrew the building. Five years ago, they built the 16,000-square-foot shop on Englehart St. in Dieppe.

The couple wanted a shop that can offer a large variety of bikes and accessories for sale and rent, as well as provide after sale service that’s timely, such as a one-day service to get a bike fixed.
In the winter, Mike’s Bike Shop also sells, rents out and services winter sports gears like skis and snowshoes. The new store is designed so that there’s a lot of room on the parking lot or on the quiet street to test drive bikes.
“We have a very strong presence in P.E.I., Fredericton, Saint John, Halifax, and a huge online business, so we wanted to build one big destination store as opposed to little stores in each town because we really have the best staff here, it’s impossible to replicate that especially when the leadership is not in each city,” he said. “That was my goal – to be here, so I can be here. We have great management in store. And everybody does a great job.”
Born in Ontario, Snyder moved to Moncton when he was 10. This is where his parents are from. As a kid, riding bikes was his “whole life.” He used to hang out at a local bike shop near his school during lunchtime and after school. That’s how he got into the industry.

I’m sure [I was] a pain in the butt. But eventually, they let me empty the garbage, run next door for coffee, and eventually, they taught me how to put bikes together and one thing led to another,” he said.
But he never thought he would own his own shop one day.
“The bike shop I worked for for 25 years, as a kid I used to look around and think, man, it’s hard to believe [the owner] owns everything in here. I couldn’t grasp that – the building, the carpets, the lights, the bikes. I couldn’t believe this guy owned them. So to be at this point…yeah,” he smiled. “It comes from a lot of hard work and an incredible amount of luck.”

[Bikes] is all I ever knew. I didn’t finish high school. I have no post-secondary education. It’s what I knew. The opportunity arose, and my wife and I jumped on it.”
Now Mike’s Bike Shop has 25 staff, including its summer employees.

If you’re wondering, Mike is the person who started the bike shop 35 years ago in his garage in Shediac. The shop had changed ownership before the Snyders bought it. But they kept the name. “I get called Mike at least as many times a day as I get called Rick,” Snyder said. “I always tease everybody and say, back when I bought it I couldn’t afford to change the name. Now that I can afford it, it would be easier to just change my name.”

The success of Mike’s Bike Shop is also thanks to its employees, Snyder said. The trust he and his staff build through relationships with customers are what keep clients coming back, he said.
As the Snyders turn 50 this summer, they want to cement a succession plan so that they can retire sometime in the future. But for now, the focus is on growth.
“Our next big thing is online business. We are present online, heavily, but we want to grow that exponentially,” Snyder explained. “You know, you’re dealing with the whole world. So we want to continue to grow business in all the ways we can and continue to make people have great experiences with us.”

First Appeared in Huddle - Sep 26, 2018 by Inda Intiar