Bob Kaplan started Ebikezzz with one store in Dana Point, California, in 2013. That location was temporary, as the building was going to be torn down in a few months. He then moved the store to nearby Corona Del Mar.
Sales were good, and he then opened his second store in Santa Barbara, some 150 miles north up the California coast. That store quickly became so successful, selling huge numbers of mountain bikes, especially Haibikes. They became the number-one Haibike dealer in the country. Sales have been big because they are in an affluent area that has a lot of great mountain bike trails that are not off-limits to e-bikes.
In 2019 the Santa Barbara store moved to a new location, which has proven even better for sales, no doubt thanks also in part to sore manager Scott Keyzer’s philosophy about the store and the experience customers will have when they come in.
It all started when he bought a bike online. Scott is a self-proclaimed non-cyclist. He found a bike online that he liked, and when it arrived, he had to build it. He knew nothing about building a bike, so he took it to a local shop and had them build it for him. They did, and he hated the bike. He ended up returning it to the online retailer. That left a bad taste in his mouth.
When he started working at Ebikezzz, he wanted to make sure customers never had to deal with the same kind of experience he had. It shaped what he likes to compare to a red-carpet treatment of everyone who comes into the shop. They’re all treated well and educated about the latest bikes. Some of the people that buy bikes here are celebrities and the affluent; others are normal, middle-class folk. All are treated with the same care.
“They have regular customers who absolutely love this level of service, and many of their customers own more than one e-bike.”
The shop is in the back, away from the showroom. There are two full-time mechanics keeping up with the maintenance on the bikes. They usually have around 30 bikes in the shop area that they’re working on, and they try to turn them around very quickly. When a bike is finished, it’s fully washed and cleaned, and returned in near-showroom condition for customers.
They have regular customers who absolutely love the level of service, and many of their customers own more than one e-bike. Customers are invited to refill their water bottles with the shop’s water filter, and they also feature bottled water and Yerba Mate, too.
Keyzer says they only sell bikes with major manufacturers’ mid-drive motors—Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano and Brose. Everything in the shop is a Class 1 bike, except their folding bikes. The only folders they sell are GoCycle bikes, which, according to Keyzer, are mostly sold to locals with boats, planes or RVs that need to use the space-saving features. All of them are throttle and pedal assist with a front hub motor.
The rest of the brands they carry include Cube, Fantic, Bulls, Benno, Moustache, Gazelle and Haibike. Most of what they sell is off-the-shelf bikes, but they do have accessories. And, they’ll customize a bike however someone wants it. While we were there, they had a Haibike they were customizing for a customer with a custom paint job. Their most-often-purchased accessory seems to be the BodyFloat suspension seatpost for commuters. They let a customer borrow them, and almost always that leads to a purchase.
Ebikezzz seems to have a philosophy that works—treat the customers well and they’ll keep coming back.
You can find the Santa Barbara Ebikezzz store at 1345 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101; (805) 963-8885;
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