it wasn't so long ago that there were only a few companies offering quality products and if you were lucky, a LBS carried what you wanted - if not, you'd gratefully make a sacrifice and settle for whatever they had on the floor.
times are changing and nearly every manufacturer under the sun is making nice bikes these days. Combine that with a more educated, experienced and older demographic as well as access to online reviews and media it's silly to expect someone to make a purchase based on a sales pitch from a shop employee who may or may not have even spent time on said bike vs. an in depth review describing every quirk and chararistic of the bike. I think it's safe to say that nearly anyone who is about to drop $4-7k on a new bike has probably done a fair amount of research and already knows what they want, and we're not willing to make sacrifices any more. If we want a certain brand, a certain model or even if we want a bike with XT brakes but the LBS only sells it with Avid's, it might be a deal breaker. It's no fault of the LBS but that's just the reality of the market these days and the way she goes.
When I was riding in Utah this past winter I found that every bike shop I went to barely carried bikes on the floor, but they ALL carried a great selection of small parts, clothing, tires etc and had great service with enough mechanics on hand to get you back on the trail quickly. IMO as MTB related tourism increases across BC I think the only way for a shop to keep going is to follow suite.
Probably should be another thread. I've done a lot MTB tourisim over the last few years. Moab, Sedona, Huricane, Oakridge, Cumberland and others. I break something alomost every trip. Every time the shop in what ever loaction deals with the problem quickly and I'm back on the trails within a few hours. I can't figure why in a city of a huge number of shops it can take over a week to have something on a bike fixed.