GOLDEN SPOKE Bike Shop manager Rufus Watts explains the philosophy of the bike shop. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

GOLDEN SPOKE Bike Shop manager Rufus Watts explains the philosophy of the bike shop. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

Secrets of Success 2010

Golden Spoke Bike Shop: ‘Getting the job done right’

By December 15, 2010

For the past three decades, individuals and families have continued to come to Golden Spoke Bike Shop in Placerville.

Why such loyalty?

“A big part of our success has been knowing how to work with people, and how to find solutions for their needs,” said Rufus Watts, general manager. “Customer service is the bottom line — the No. 1.”

Brothers Bob, Karl and Jim Hodges opened Golden Spoke Bike Shop in 1981. At first, they specialized in Schwinn bicycles, which were among the most popular bikes in the country at the time.

In quick time, the shop became known for its product knowledge. Customers began coming to the store for advice — for themselves and for their families.

Today, the store carries Specialized and Raleigh brand bicycles. Both brands of bike have products that meet different customer needs — including mountain and road bikes that are designed for “comfort” riding right up to the “professional” competition level.

Which bike is correct for each customer? That’s where the friendly and experienced staff at Golden Spoke come in.

“When you come into a bike store, there are so many different styles of bikes or end-user ways of using a bike,” Watts said. “We custom fit the bike to the person.”

The staff is able to meet the unique needs of customers with cherished vintage bikes, as well.

“We repair all makes and kinds of bikes,” Watts said. “From professional bikes to everyday ‘beater’ bikes.”

Trevor Anderson, a mechanic at Golden Spoke, loves working on bikes as well as riding on them.

“There’s always something new to learn,” Anderson said. “I’m working on taking my skills to the next level, getting on the Internet for manuals, etc. I like to know it’s being done right.”

“One of the reasons we’re still here is because we still work with our hands,” Watts said. “People expect a higher level of quality from us. They expect the bike to work. We’re also more product knowledge-based (than other stores). When people get started, they might want to start with a comfort bike and then their vision widens as they enjoy the bike and want to do more.”

The ultimate secret to success that the staff at Golden Spoke all point to is the kindness, hard work and integrity of store owners Monica and Jim Hodges.

“I’m here because of Jim,” Watts said. “Jim is the kind of person who has real integrity. He can reach out to help out customers with unique bicycling needs, and he leads by example. It’s all about trying to take care of the customer and do the right thing.”

Golden Spoke Bike Shop is located at 679 Placerville Drive in Placerville.

Susan Laird

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