Riding Into Case

Riding into Social Media: Earl’s Cyclery and Fitness

Virginie Pioche Khare, Eckerd College, Karen Popovich, Saint Michael College
January 12, 2021
North America
Marketing & Sales, Entrepreneurship, Strategy & General Management
8 pages
social media, specialty retail, entrepreneurship
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.7)
Average rating: 

Earl’s Cyclery and Fitness (Earl’s), located in Burlington, Vermont, is a specialty retailer in bicycles, accessories, and fitness equipment. Earl’s business success depended exclusively on traditional advertising methods and building strong customer relationships “with a handshake.” Roger Frey, owner of Earl’s for almost 30 years, had set a meeting with his Operations Manager to discuss whether to expand their advertising methods to social media platforms. Frey was skeptical about the potential effectiveness of social media advertising for his business. He did not believe specialty bikes and fitness equipment would sell online. Frey wondered if he had a handle on the way that technology was seemingly taking over all aspects of his business. Earl’s recently developed a website and Facebook page and neither had received many hits. Nevertheless, his Operations Manager was pushing for Earl’s to actively engage in social media.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Examine personal characteristics exhibited by entrepreneurs.
  2. Describe challenges faced by specialty retailers.
  3. Evaluate how different social media platforms offer a competitive advantage, at low-cost, for specialty retail.