The passionate bike enthusiasts at Bikenetic are biased and they know it. They love bicycles, considering them to be the most efficient mode of transportation on the planet, and work painstakingly to connect each customer with the right ride. Carrying a host of name-brand bikes, staff members point customers to available models that match one's riding style, size, and propensity to wear clown shoes. Customers can take bikes for a test ride, then bring their feedback to sales reps who can make adjustments and send bikers out to test the bike again or to pick up some snacks. Any bike bought at Bikenetic also falls under the protective umbrella of the shop's free lifetime-maintenance policy, which covers services such as brake adjustments, wheel truing, and bearing adjustments. Technicians restore and care for bikes that they haven't sold, as well, offering prompt and expert advice from behind the counter of their shop's service desk. The staff also leads their rallying cry of biker solidarity every Tuesday evening in Wakefield Park, where they lead mountain-biking night rides.
Golfsmith's online and in-store showrooms house an almost endless list of golf gear for men, women, and children alike. Clubs, balls, and accessories from brands such as TaylorMade, MacGregor, and Callaway give players precise control over their game, and polos and long-sleeved shirts from Nike and Snake Eyes garb players in course-appropriate attire now that tuxedo T-shirts no longer qualify. Along with the extensive collection of equipment and golf bags, Golfsmith also carries GPS systems to give players a high-tech edge.
Owner Greg Klein first learned the art of customer service as a child, watching his father found the store that, 37 years later, would continue to bear his name. Greg remembers, "My father would close a sale and say, 'My name is Willi Klein. If you ever have any problems, you find me⎯I'll make it right.' It is still our motto today." This commitment to customer care is passed along to the sales staff at five locations, helping them pair outdoors enthusiasts with name brand gear from Burton, Nordica, Oakley, and Ride Snowboards. Team members take pride in helping boarders and skiers find boots that conform to their feet, a seemingly small detail that can make an enormous difference in staying comfortable on the slopes, performing on halfpipes, and attaining top speed while running off with a friend’s poles.
In 2001, husband-and-wife team Todd and Anne realized two of their biggest dreams: they started a family and opened The Bike Lane. Throughout the store, bikes by Trek, Electra, Felt, Mirraco, and Surly lean on their kickstands alongside accessories such as water bottles, bells, or high-heeled spokes for date night. Certified staffers leap down from their stationary penny-farthings to perfectly match riders with new bikes through fit services that are free with purchase of a triathlon/TT, road, or mountain bike. In the repair shop, mechanics with 40 years of combined experience service bikes, overhauling brakes, installing parts, or custom-fitting wheels. To stay connected with its network of riders, The Bike Lane organizes educational safety events, advocates for bicycle-friendly communities, and sponsors more than 50 cycling events per year.
It all started with a deflated basketball. Though longtime friends Mike Kennedy and Eric Martin scoured downtown Boston for an inflating needle to fill it, no shops in the area carried one. They were frustrated—and they realized that other Bostonians looking for athletic gear were likely frustrated too. So in 1983, they opened City Sports, a shop stocked with all the footwear, athletic apparel, and sports equipment that the metropolis had been missing.
Nearly three decades later, Mike and Eric's neighborhood business has expanded to 20 shops across the East Coast. In addition to stocking popular brands such as Vibram, The North Face, and Patagonia, the store engineers its own CS by City Sports line. Shoppers include yogis, cyclists, and tennis players—anyone seeking to outfit active lifestyles, whether they're playing a team sport or braving the hike up the world's largest gumdrop. In addition to footwear and apparel, the staff stocks fitness equipment such as kettlebells, lifting gloves, and dumbbells.
The Tennis Zone keeps players smashing aces and ripping forehand winners in style with name-brand equipment, apparel, and racquet restringing services. Stop in for a new tube of tennis balls on the way to a match, or consult the knowledgeable staff for advice on selecting a new pair of shoes or shorts capable of concealing second and third racquets. While tennis is the primary focus, the shop also caters to other racquet sports such as squash, badminton, and racquetball.
As the the Tennis Zone's network for recreational play, Smart Tennis puts tennis lovers in contact with like-minded players of similar age and ability, and then lets them set up matches at mutually agreeable times and places. Newcomers simply enter their age and skill level?recreational or advanced?into the website and then contact other users with similar court credentials. After finishing off their sets and shaking hands, the winner then logs back on to report scores and earn points that can be exchanged for prizes?which are just the icing on the cake and second to the true prizes of friendship, camaraderie, and the aroma of brand new tennis balls.