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Old 05-15-2013, 12:00 PM   #28651
Gummee!
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Joined: May 2004
Location: NoVA for now...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YakSpout View Post
I got that t-shirt, too.

Coupla things I learned REALLY early on:

Don't take both sets of cones off an axle
Don't unlace a wheel completely when all you need to do is replace a rim.
Watch the torque!
Headsets should NEVER be loose (and they're expen-SIVE!) I still have a Mavic HS and a few older 'assorted' HSs in my bin of stuff to remind me.
If it creaks, see to it ASAP. Especially if it creaks near the BB.
If there's a special tool needed, you really DO need it. I have a French threaded crank remover. Probably never need it, but I have it!

etc etc etc

M
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:14 PM   #28652
Aurelius
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YakSpout View Post
Not many folks are buying component groups at retail with so many discounts available online, but how many of those people can install the new parts?
That's one thing he does which I've told him is really, really, dumb: he installs stuff for free! No labor charge on anything bought in his store, and he's even installed parts at no cost that were purchased elsewhere. He may think it's a good way to attract customers, but what will happen is the same thing that's happened in my line of work: customers/clients will be appreciative the first time you do it, but the next time they'll expect it. Devaluing your work by giving it away for nothing is never good for business.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:06 PM   #28653
Gummee!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurelius View Post
That's one thing he does which I've told him is really, really, dumb: he installs stuff for free! No labor charge on anything bought in his store, and he's even installed parts at no cost that were purchased elsewhere. He may think it's a good way to attract customers, but what will happen is the same thing that's happened in my line of work: customers/clients will be appreciative the first time you do it, but the next time they'll expect it. Devaluing your work by giving it away for nothing is never good for business.
I can vouch for that. Shop I used to work for gave a discount to a local club. First few times it was 'gee thanks!' then it was 'where's my discount?!' The attitude of gratitude went buh-bye quickly.

M
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:22 PM   #28654
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Originally Posted by Aurelius View Post
That's one thing he does which I've told him is really, really, dumb: he installs stuff for free! No labor charge on anything bought in his store, and he's even installed parts at no cost that were purchased elsewhere. He may think it's a good way to attract customers, but what will happen is the same thing that's happened in my line of work: customers/clients will be appreciative the first time you do it, but the next time they'll expect it. Devaluing your work by giving it away for nothing is never good for business.
Yeah, that's nice but doesn't seem like it would pay the bills.
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:58 PM   #28655
Gummee!
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I brought the hurt tonite. While I can't get over a hill with the lead guys, when the road flattens, watch the funk out. I've gotten fit enough that I can pull, recover, place in the sprint, recover, pull, recover, and place 2nd in the final sprint behind the Cat 1 in the group who was sucking wheels the whole nite.

Oh, and new record HR: 160 Legs blew on the first hill at 152, but after that, I felt much better.



M
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:11 PM   #28656
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Oh, like!
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:27 AM   #28657
Tallbastid
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Originally Posted by YakSpout View Post
That's true for most retail. The big-ticket items are low margin and you make your nut on the parts/accessories.

Most bikes shops hold true to that as well. They make money on fits, service and the crazy markup on tubes, energy bars, etc. They probably break close to even on clothing.

Not many folks are buying component groups at retail with so many discounts available online, but how many of those people can install the new parts?

I have experience with this with what I've done in sales; though it was a much different industry. Our $1-2k products would only be marked up 10-15%. While it was still decent profit off a sale that took a salesman working at $18/hr 20 minutes to make, the problem (in our case) as the products we were selling took up lots of precious retail space. OTOH, smaller items would be keystoned and take up much less space. The best items we had were the 'impulse buys' at the counter; little odds and ends that were useful, but hardly necessary. While checking out, customers would see them and throw them into the sale, all the while buying goods at 200% cost.

I could see that with a bike shop as well - I imagine you'll sell lots of tubes, pumps, locks, grips, tires, etc. at 200% cost, in order to get people in the door you'll need the bikes in the window. I also believe in some decent rides aspiring riders can come in and kick the tires on and maybe convince themselves to spend a little more on a nicer ride.

I'm still looking around for stats on who buys what in terms of bikes. My area is a fairly large scene for true, high dollar mountain/road riders, but I know to stock the 2-3-4k bikes means lots of overhead. I also know once you're getting into those price ranges, riders are informed and they know what they want, IOW chances are they won't want what you have in stock. I read somewhere (maybe here?) that the majority of bike sales are in the $200-$500 range; for bike pathers and ride-with-the-kids types. While easy to sell stock in that price range, you'd still have the issue of precious real-estate being occupied by bulky, low margin goods. One thing I know is I'll be looking for a smaller - is - better retail space so I'll either have to stock less or find a creative way to display bikes while leaving room for the smaller, high margin goods. One thing Gummee and Aurelius have stated is the big three may not be interested in working with me. I'm fine with that - everyone sells those bikes and for probably cheaper than I'd be able to. I've been researching some lesser-known brands I could order the high buck stuff from, and trying to find some lesser-known but still quality $200-$500 range rides.

Installation is huge, and again my experience has shown me people are willing to pay for being able to leave the shop with their goodies installed and ready to dispaly/ride/try/review when they get home. The install prices my company charged in my last job were almost crimina - but people paid it. Again, I have no intention of becoming wealthy or sacrificing my name for a higher profit, but as many of you have said, I know installation can be high-margin.

One last thing; I know many, many people (myself included) purchase bike parts on the internet at a huge discount. IMHO, you lose three things doing this;

1. The experience of being at the shop, experiencing all the cool shit, talking with likeminded people, looking at your dream ride, and, in the vendors eye, the impulse buys, the self convincing (I should get new brakes, shouldn't I?) I plan on making the shop (if this happens) a destination instead of a chore. Creature comforts go quite a ways here, and I think anything that makes a customer feel welcomed and comfrotable in your store is a good investment and use of real-estate.
2. Experience and expertise afforded by knowledgable sales people
3. Hassle free returns and free fittings.

Especially in the area I'm looking to open shop in, there is a big emphasis on keeping it local. I know this won't make everyone skip the internet, but I'll never be convinced the internet is goign to 'kill' the LBS, so long as the LBS doesn't screw their customers.
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:59 AM   #28658
Gummee!
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Location: NoVA for now...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moodfart View Post
Installation is huge, and again my experience has shown me people are willing to pay for being able to leave the shop with their goodies installed and ready to dispaly/ride/try/review when they get home. The install prices my company charged in my last job were almost crimina - but people paid it. Again, I have no intention of becoming wealthy or sacrificing my name for a higher profit, but as many of you have said, I know installation can be high-margin.
You've developed skills over time, you should get paid for that. Any yahoo can install a widget if things are perfect. Its when they're not perfect that skill comes into play.

Quote:
One last thing; I know many, many people (myself included) purchase bike parts on the internet at a huge discount. IMHO, you lose three things doing this;

1. The experience of being at the shop, experiencing all the cool shit, talking with likeminded people, looking at your dream ride, and, in the vendors eye, the impulse buys, the self convincing (I should get new brakes, shouldn't I?)
2. Experience and expertise afforded by knowledgable sales people
3. Hassle free returns and free fittings.

Especially in the area I'm looking to open shop in, there is a big emphasis on keeping it local. I know this won't make everyone skip the internet, but I'll never be convinced the internet is goign to 'kill' the LBS.
1. Group rides do the same thing. You get to see the gucci stuff that the other riders are on. Forums (like this one!) are another way to get ideas. Weight Weenies, RBR, Velocipede Salon, Paceline, et al are all places where 'serious' cyclists hang out and kibbitz. Oh, and sell barely ridden stuff for less than cost. Like my recent Ergonova handlebar purchase...

2. Depending on the shop you go to I've found that I've been riding longer'n some of the shop rats have been alive. I've seen shite come and go and come around again.

3. At an LBS?! Depending on the LBS, sure. Across the board? No. ...and fittings are only as good as the person doing the fit. AMHIK

Not trying to dissuade you, but esperienced cyclists CAN do away with the LBS. I/we am not your audience. Only reason I go in is to hang out with my riding buddy that works there. What you want is the n00bs, the inept at wrenching, doctors, lawyers, and mtn bikers that keep breaking their stuff.

So, I'd say set up accounts with the 'elite' brands like Moots, Seven, Firefly, Niner, Santa Cruz, etc. and sell those. Get a few locals riding whatever it is you think fits your riding area and work from there. You may have to do a 'cost + X%' for a select few riders. AKA they're the shop's sponsored riders/racers.

Work on anything that comes in the door. I can tell you from personal experience that while its nicer working on the gucci stuff, the lawn furniture bike owners are MUCH more appreciative of your efforts.

I remember reading a thread somewhere else where a guy was kvetching about mechanic lifting his bike into the stand and grabbing TT along with brake cable. He was concerned that they were scratching his gucci bike. Yes, people like that DO exist!

If you're a 'destination town' develop a website with trail maps in there. When the map prints, make sure your shop logo/info are on em. I'm sure you can figure out the superlatives needed on the website... Preeminent shop in the area, blah blah blah

Sponsor trail-building days. Get people involved in the trails they're riding. It won't bring out many people, but it will bring out people.

There's more...

M
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:18 AM   #28659
Chisenhallw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
If there's a special tool needed, you really DO need it.
I used to sneer at tensionometers until I actually used one at a local hippie bike co-op. Fastest and steadiest I have ever trued a wheel. I'm buying one next paycheck.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:21 AM   #28660
Aurelius
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Joined: Oct 2002
Location: Altamonte Springs, Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moodfart View Post
I have experience with this with what I've done in sales; though it was a much different industry. Our $1-2k products would only be marked up 10-15%. While it was still decent profit off a sale that took a salesman working at $18/hr 20 minutes to make, the problem (in our case) as the products we were selling took up lots of precious retail space. OTOH, smaller items would be keystoned and take up much less space. The best items we had were the 'impulse buys' at the counter; little odds and ends that were useful, but hardly necessary. While checking out, customers would see them and throw them into the sale, all the while buying goods at 200% cost.

I could see that with a bike shop as well - I imagine you'll sell lots of tubes, pumps, locks, grips, tires, etc. at 200% cost, in order to get people in the door you'll need the bikes in the window. I also believe in some decent rides aspiring riders can come in and kick the tires on and maybe convince themselves to spend a little more on a nicer ride.

I'm still looking around for stats on who buys what in terms of bikes. My area is a fairly large scene for true, high dollar mountain/road riders, but I know to stock the 2-3-4k bikes means lots of overhead. I also know once you're getting into those price ranges, riders are informed and they know what they want, IOW chances are they won't want what you have in stock. I read somewhere (maybe here?) that the majority of bike sales are in the $200-$500 range; for bike pathers and ride-with-the-kids types. While easy to sell stock in that price range, you'd still have the issue of precious real-estate being occupied by bulky, low margin goods. One thing I know is I'll be looking for a smaller - is - better retail space so I'll either have to stock less or find a creative way to display bikes while leaving room for the smaller, high margin goods. One thing Gummee and Aurelius have stated is the big three may not be interested in working with me. I'm fine with that - everyone sells those bikes and for probably cheaper than I'd be able to. I've been researching some lesser-known brands I could order the high buck stuff from, and trying to find some lesser-known but still quality $200-$500 range rides.

Installation is huge, and again my experience has shown me people are willing to pay for being able to leave the shop with their goodies installed and ready to dispaly/ride/try/review when they get home. The install prices my company charged in my last job were almost crimina - but people paid it. Again, I have no intention of becoming wealthy or sacrificing my name for a higher profit, but as many of you have said, I know installation can be high-margin.

One last thing; I know many, many people (myself included) purchase bike parts on the internet at a huge discount. IMHO, you lose three things doing this;

1. The experience of being at the shop, experiencing all the cool shit, talking with likeminded people, looking at your dream ride, and, in the vendors eye, the impulse buys, the self convincing (I should get new brakes, shouldn't I?) I plan on making the shop (if this happens) a destination instead of a chore. Creature comforts go quite a ways here, and I think anything that makes a customer feel welcomed and comfrotable in your store is a good investment and use of real-estate.
2. Experience and expertise afforded by knowledgable sales people
3. Hassle free returns and free fittings.

Especially in the area I'm looking to open shop in, there is a big emphasis on keeping it local. I know this won't make everyone skip the internet, but I'll never be convinced the internet is goign to 'kill' the LBS, so long as the LBS doesn't screw their customers.
The LBS I mentioned doesn't appear to have a website of its own (yet), but you can contact the owner, Tommy Costello, on his shop's Facebook page. The place is called Olde Towne Cyclery, Inc.

https://www.facebook.com/rideotc

As I mentioned earlier, he has only been in business for a couple of years, so he can give you a good idea of the trials and tribulations of starting a new bicycle shop.

Be especially careful about unanticipated costs such as impact fees and permitting fees. In Florida, many municipalities are running what I would characterize as a criminal enterprise by coming up with specious reasons to deny occupancy permits. They know that in order to resubmit, the owner will have to pay the $750 application fee all over again, at which time they can look for another specious reason to deny his occupancy permit, and on and on it goes. The authority of the plans examiners office is absolute, and there's no one you can appeal their decisions to. The architect's hands are tied because the new building codes have been written in such a way as to leave it almost entirely up to the interpretation of the plans examiners to say whether there is a code violation. The only remedy is to sue them, but this is a very expensive and lengthy process which most people simply can't afford. Talk to architects/developers/builders in the area in which you plan to open your shop and ask them if this is what's happening there. If it is, steer clear of it.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:27 AM   #28661
TheYeti
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So... on another note,Fullmonte you are gonna have the National champships (Pro) out your way next month. You going? we need pics.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:30 AM   #28662
TheYeti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YakSpout View Post
Played hooky from work yesterday to go for a ride and watch Stage 3 of the ToC.

Peloton coming down Copper Hill towards us with 70mi to go:



We rode back to my in-laws' house, got cleaned up and drove over to the finish line for the end of the race.

Leaders about 140m from the finish, they start the sprint and Orica GreeneEDGE's leadout man is popping:

Is this the stage where Sagan wins it from about 20 guys back?
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:40 AM   #28663
Tallbastid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
You've developed skills over time, you should get paid for that. Any yahoo can install a widget if things are perfect. Its when they're not perfect that skill comes into play.
Right, but there's a thin line between being fairly paid for your efforts and offending a customer. At my previous job we had some (rightfully) pissed off customers who needed it done and paid, but would not be back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
1. Group rides do the same thing. You get to see the gucci stuff that the other riders are on. Forums (like this one!) are another way to get ideas. Weight Weenies, RBR, Velocipede Salon, Paceline, et al are all places where 'serious' cyclists hang out and kibbitz. Oh, and sell barely ridden stuff for less than cost. Like my recent Ergonova handlebar purchase...
I plan on ordering a few boxes of jerseys with shop name on it for advertising, so when those ideas are flowing on those rides, they see my shops name, as do passing cars and other riders in the trail.

Great point about selling take-offs as well. We did this in my last place. Customer comes in with deep pockets, they want shiny X to swap in for their barely used Y. Great! that'll be $100 for X and a $25 install. Oh - but if we can keep your Y, we'll do the install for $10. Sell the Y for $20, make a few more bucks and help out both the spender and the next guy with less cash who needs a new Y; and retain two happy customers. Confused?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
2. Depending on the shop you go to I've found that I've been riding longer'n some of the shop rats have been alive. I've seen shite come and go and come around again.
Sure - but I'm also guessing you're the minority. Guys like you would get the jerseys so your beginner buddies have a local shop they can come to for questions/advice or the quick set of replacement XYZ they need bfore tomorrow's ride.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
3. At an LBS?! Depending on the LBS, sure. Across the board? No. ...and fittings are only as good as the person doing the fit. AMHIK
Sorry, I meant free fitting of clothes, gloves, cleats, etc. I'd make returns simple and easy; it keeps customers buying and trying. Have a well marked and absolute return policy, and stick to it. My old place drove customers away by not doing this, and it hurt business as we gained a reputation for such.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
Not trying to dissuade you, but esperienced cyclists CAN do away with the LBS. I/we am not your audience. Only reason I go in is to hang out with my riding buddy that works there. What you want is the n00bs, the inept at wrenching, doctors, lawyers, and mtn bikers that keep breaking their stuff.
Absolutely. The are is filled with weekend warrior white-collar workers who I'm guessing don't wrench. I've seen lots of high dollar rides with shiny lycra and tire nipples out on the trails. There's also a local population, the true, gritty, more blue collar mtb riders with the trail dogs and post-ride PBRs in the parking lot. While those guys may not have lots to spend, they'll inevitably need tubes, grips, tires, etc... all high markup items. With a comfortable, destination shop, I hope to attract these types.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
So, I'd say set up accounts with the 'elite' brands like Moots, Seven, Firefly, Niner, Santa Cruz, etc. and sell those. Get a few locals riding whatever it is you think fits your riding area and work from there. You may have to do a 'cost + X%' for a select few riders. AKA they're the shop's sponsored riders/racers.
Ditto - high dollar custom order stuff ain't the issue I'm finding, it's finding a less expensive (family bikes) company who aren't the Specialized, Giants, Treks, etc, because, as Aurelius pointed out, the contracts are hardly sustainable for a small place (as I would have)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
Work on anything that comes in the door. I can tell you from personal experience that while its nicer working on the gucci stuff, the lawn furniture bike owners are MUCH more appreciative of your efforts.

I remember reading a thread somewhere else where a guy was kvetching about mechanic lifting his bike into the stand and grabbing TT along with brake cable. He was concerned that they were scratching his gucci bike. Yes, people like that DO exist!
Absolutely, those are the people I'd count on to move tubes, tires, brake pads + easily install cash. I've got experience with the Gucci crowd too... did I mention I sold contruction equipment? If it were up to me I'd much rather work with the Huffy owners looking to get into the sport on a budget... which brings up a good point... used bikes.?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
If you're a 'destination town' develop a website with trail maps in there. When the map prints, make sure your shop logo/info are on em. I'm sure you can figure out the superlatives needed on the website... Preeminent shop in the area, blah blah blah

Sponsor trail-building days. Get people involved in the trails they're riding. It won't bring out many people, but it will bring out people.
M
Yes, this is a destination town, or rather, its a blossoming town in the middle of 3-4 year-round destinations. I like the map ideas and trail building days, that's great advice. Appeal to the nature-minded folk, the explorers and the tourists alike. Things like maps and jerseys are investments, and those are things that could make a business. Biggest thing there, from what I can see, is proper start up capital to be able to make such investments without an immediate return.


Thanks Gummee.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:41 AM   #28664
Tallbastid
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Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Northern VT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurelius View Post
The LBS I mentioned doesn't appear to have a website of its own (yet), but you can contact the owner, Tommy Costello, on his shop's Facebook page. The place is called Olde Towne Cyclery, Inc.

https://www.facebook.com/rideotc

As I mentioned earlier, he has only been in business for a couple of years, so he can give you a good idea of the trials and tribulations of starting a new bicycle shop.

Be especially careful about unanticipated costs such as impact fees and permitting fees. In Florida, many municipalities are running what I would characterize as a criminal enterprise by coming up with specious reasons to deny occupancy permits. They know that in order to resubmit, the owner will have to pay the $750 application fee all over again, at which time they can look for another specious reason to deny his occupancy permit, and on and on it goes. The authority of the plans examiners office is absolute, and there's no one you can appeal their decisions to. The architect's hands are tied because the new building codes have been written in such a way as to leave it almost entirely up to the interpretation of the plans examiners to say whether there is a code violation. The only remedy is to sue them, but this is a very expensive and lengthy process which most people simply can't afford. Talk to architects/developers/builders in the area in which you plan to open your shop and ask them if this is what's happening there. If it is, steer clear of it.

Great information, and not something I would have thought of. Sounds like a racket to me I'll absolutely look into that in the area/building I have in mind.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:48 AM   #28665
Gummee!
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Location: NoVA for now...
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Sign me up for a jersey when you get em designed. I'll wear it even if I'm down here. You just never know...

If you get a KHS account, they have everything you'd need to start a shop. From bikes to bits and bobs. Personally, I think you're better off starting out with a shop and some retail space for clothing/stuff and special order the rest, but that's me.

Gloves
Helmets (at least a few low- to mid-range helmets)
Tubes
Multi-tools
Tire levers
Energy food
etc etc etc

The little shit that people 'forget' that they NEED RIGHT NOW! to go riding

Once you start making $$, THEN move up to a bigger space and carry a line of bikes. The shop I was managing was $25-30k in debt to Specialized from their very first bike order. Never did make enough to pay that off.

M
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