It's been a little bit since I've blogged any new scooter posts, but here is a hum-dinger for all you serious scooter geeks out there.
Stephanie Winters' Masters thesis for architecture at University of Cincinnati is supa-cool. (And when was the last time you heard that about a Master's thesis?) She has created a structure with the intent of being an immersive, interactive, scooterist's haven.
The first part of the thesis is a study of similar buildings such as a Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart, from which she obviously drawn a great deal of inspiration. This part was mildly interesting to me, as I am mildly interested in architecture in general, and the idea of creating a space suited for automobiles and humans is novel and intriguing.
The second part of the thesis is the really nifty part though. She has designed a space suited for habitation by scooters and humans. It is comprised of multi-levels, with many ramps for scoots, and includes areas for scooter sales, mechanical work, education, as well as a cafe and rally meet-up space for social interaction.
There is also a really cool appendix delving into the history of the motorscooter, going back as far as the 19-teens.
Ms. Winters' proposed site is in Cincinnati, and I'm not really familar enough with the area to know if it could support this kind of business venture, but somewhere certainly could. In the right market, this design, utilized by a shop with a diversified product range (say carrying new Vespa and Piaggio models, as well as say the Genuine and Kymco lineups, and catering to vintage scooterists as well) would really be gang busters.
Maybe it's just me, but this design writes it's own business model. It's generally well known that two-wheeler retailers have only razor-thin markups on bikes, the real profit margins come from accessories and service. Yet the kind of business models which are proven successes in regular retail and service businesses are rarely applied. Most two-wheeler businesses are only comfortable environments for a half-hour at most. They seem to if not discourage hanging out, at least they do not accomadate loitering. By creating a casual environment where customers can take classes in maintenance and repair, riding skills, and scoot customization, as well as a place to get spark-plugs and oil, sales of helmets and jackets which might otherwise be lost to internet retailers, can't help but increase.
Heck, once word got out, such a place would become a scooterist Mecca, drawing riders from well outside the local community.
Heck, I'll do it, if any venture capitalists out there wanna give me backing...
via Scooter Swag
and, hey, if anyone out there is really interested in starting a scooter business (or already has one they are tweaking) here are some thoughts from other scooterists on the issue.
"Where is the Scooter Market Going?"
Kind of silly, but some insightful answers, too: "Scooter co-location ideas"