Six years ago, we opened Big Poppi Bikes to serve the needs of the cycling community of Manhattan, Kansas. Our store offers everything from kids’ bikes with training wheels and handlebar streamers to BMX stunt bikes to commuter bikes to high end racing machines. But what really sets us apart is our unbelievable service team. From helping you choose the right bike, to making repairs and keeping you safe on the road, our deep knowledge and expertise is why our customers come back time and time again. This kind of service and expert advice is something that you get from a local small business that is unavailable from an online seller.
A new bicycle is a big purchase – costing from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. We price our bikes competitively and understand that our customers want to save money where they can and are shopping on both quality and price. We like to think that Big Poppi’s knowledgeable staff and expert technicians add extra value to their shopping experience. We are passionate about bicycles and we love helping people pick the right ride, but nothing is more frustrating than when someone showrooms at our store. There have been countless times when customers have visited our store, asked questions about the best bikes for commuting or competitive riding, get fitted for the bike of choice and then walked away to purchase online from an out-of-state remote seller so they can save 8.4% on sales tax. It’s incredibly disappointing to see the very same customers who looked to our knowledge and expertise buy a bicycle online and then come back into the store for repairs and tune ups.
Showrooming ultimately doesn’t just threaten our bottom line, it can impact our community too. Brick-and-mortar stores like ours play an important role in our society and economy. When was the last time your online retailer hosted group bike rides in your community or provided mechanical support during a local race? Traditional retailers add nearly four jobs for every million dollars of increased sales. Online retailers add just one. When local businesses thrive, the community thrives. Big Poppi has made a point of giving back to our community through our “Give Back” program that allows customers to donate 5% of their purchases in the past 12 months to worthy causes.
By shopping locally you are investing back in your community. You’re helping us provide good-paying jobs and are supporting a business that is working to make Manhattan a better and more vibrant place to live. Additionally, your sales tax dollars are a critical source of revenue for the city of Manhattan. Those dollars fund everything from roads, to schools, to police and fire departments. Good infrastructure, good schools and safe neighborhoods raise property values. It’s a win-win all around.
Right now we need Congress to move forward with the legislation that would require online sellers to remit sales taxes back to the appropriate jurisdictions. According to a recent national survey, 70 percent of Americans support federal legislation that would require online-only sellers to collect sales tax at the time of purchase. But Congress is dragging their feet as they have for nearly 20 years. The time has come for to invest in our future and ensure continued economic growth by enacting efairness legislation in 2015.