Sirius Cycles, Erbe Naturals look for long ride at Rodeo Plaza
Mar 05, 2013 (The Santa Fe New Mexican - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Clemente McFarlane bought a boxful of bike tools in 2005 that he since has saved for the day he would start his own bike shop. Seven years down the line, and McFarlane can finally put those tools to use at his new business, Sirius Cycles, in the Rodeo Plaza Shopping Center.
But he's not the only new business in the center. Another long-in-the-plannning business, Erbe Naturals, opened in October 2012. It's a speciality herb store run by Carey Benenson Taussig and Peter Taussig, and it shows even more growth for the 20-year-old shopping center at the intersection of Zia Road, Rodeo Road and Camino Carlos Rey.
McFarlane and the husband-and-wife team have challenges respective to their business, but they do face similar hurdles, the foremost of which is building a reputation, made more difficult by the plaza's south-side location.
"It takes time for people to know where you're at," Peter Taussig said inside the new herb shop.
However, that removal can also be a boon for the new businesses, given they're far removed from their competitors. Consider McFarlane's nearest competitor, Rob and Charlie's at 1632 St Michaels Drive -- that's nearly 3 miles away, depending on the route taken.
Moreover, he said that the south-side location means he can also capitalize on cyclist traffic from the nearby biking trails without competition. Additionally, McFarlane can also count on heavy traffic from the meeting point of Zia and Rodeo roads, both of which are bike accessible.
In a similar manner, Erbe Naturals is removed from a similar herb store, Herbs Etc., 1340 Rufina Circle. It, however, does share a wall with another herb store, East Tao Herb Co & Acupuncture, though both the husband and wife said that shop focuses on Eastern practices, whereas theirs focuses on European ones.
Rodeo Plaza is also home to a number of health-related business including a clinic and an urgent care facility, which Beneson Taussig said matches the goal of her store.
"We thought we were surrounded by good energy," Beneson Taussig said.
The two emerging businesses also face individual challenges. Coming late into the biking scene means that McFarlane doesn't have a bike brand, given that other shops already hold those rights. He said he's trying to get a brand, but that's a bit farther down the line. Meanwhile, Macfarlane said he's relying on other services to keep his business afloat. He can offer high-end maintenance and he's got plenty of experience given his time spent at the Chainbreakers Collective, a local advocacy group that pushes for alternative transportation.
"I can't compete with huge lines of credit," McFarlane said, referring to other bike shops' larger item inventory. "But I can compete with customer service, availability and bike expertise."
The Taussigs, in contrast, have their own brand line, Erbe Naturals. Additionally, they have an established source of clients from Benenson Taussig's practice, Balance Point Osteopathic Techniques. The challenge, the duo said, is informing people of the range of services they offer given they're selling Benenson Taussig's expertise on osteopathy in addition to that on raw herbs and medicines.
Both new business owners also said the landlord of the shopping center, Matt Winter, was professional, which made them more willing to lease. Winter said he was happy to have the two new businesses, and it's not like he would take on just any client.
"We are very conscious about the synergy mix in our center," Winter said.
Winter also said that he was optimistic that both new businesses might be able to draw new customers, who then would visit other shops in the area.
It's not all rosy. The shopping center did face the loss of the Santa Fe Supermart in 2007, the once-anchor store of the center. And Winter said he has yet to fill that space.
"It's unfortunate when you lose a large tenant," he said. "We're working with all possible sources, but nothing is concrete in this market."
Still, that doesn't seem to phase McFarlane or the Tausiggs, both of whom have new children in their lives. Both are optimistic for their future in the center, and the business to come.
"It's been steady so far," Taussig said. "And it's exceeded our expectations."
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