Club Ride Apparel, one of the leaders in the casual-technical cycling apparel segment, secured $1 million in additional capital from Royal Street Investment & Innovation Center to support the company’s continued expansion.
The funding comes as the company, based on Ketchum, ID and founded in 2008, saw revenues grow 140 percent in the first nine months of 2013. The company was founded on the premise that not every cyclist can wear skintight apparel but also to equL fill the need for cycling jerseys, shorts, and pants designed to work technically but also look good on the trail, commuting, or other social occasions.
“Club Ride is emerging as a premium brand in what we view as the next frontier of the broader marketplace of cycling,” stated Jeff Stowell, president of RSIIC, a Park City, Utah-based investment group.
Stowell continued, “We feel like Club Ride is an outstanding fit for our portfolio and that they strongly represent the growth opportunity, as well as the values and ethics we expect when we make investments of this size. We are really excited to be a part of the quickly growing Club Ride family.”
The funding will support several of Club Ride’s growth initiatives. They include the introduction of its first Fall/Winter collection, which began shipping in September. The launch helped Club Ride’s overall September shipments jump 781 percent over the prior month, and increases have continued through the fourth quarter, according to Scott Montgomery, Club Ride’s CEO. A long-time executive at Cannondale who later founded Scott Sports' bike division in the U.S., Montgomery became Club Ride’s CEO in February 2012.
Club Ride’s 2014 Spring/Summer line is also being amplified with a focus on greater color options, increased shorts offerings and more competitive pricing of men’s shirts. Socks, gloves and t-shirts are also being added to the line. Open Road, a road-oriented sub-brand of “anti-Lycra” apparel, was also recently introduced to a favorable reaction from retailers.
The third quarter marked the opening of Club Ride’s 700th North American retailer, but a particular focus in the years ahead is on international. Canada continues to experience strong growth with 26 retailers. Other countries selling Club Ride through local distributors are Japan, Brazil, and Indonesia. A particularly focus on Europe will start in 2015.
“We could not be more pleased to add such a strong partner to our growing company,” said Montgomery. “RSIIC understands the outdoor enthusiast. They believe the cycling industry needs to expand cycling apparel beyond the status quo. I am confident that with an even stronger balance sheet, our ever-improving products, and our knowledgeable staff, we will continue to build a brand that expands the cycling apparel segment as more consumers find Club Ride products enhance their riding experience.”
Also supporting its growth, Club Ride bolstered its ranks during the quarter by promoting Cole Casperson to CFO and Kelli Lusk to marketing manager. Becky Lamphier, its product development manager with former experience at Marker, SmartWool, and Kuhl, relocated from Park City to Ketchum to work in-house. Two customer service representatives were added, Cameron Lloyd and Jason Conners.
Club Ride also during the third quarter formed of the Club Ride Advisory Board, which includes four seasoned executives: Andrew Herrick, past co-owner of Crank Brothers; Chuck Rumpf, business manager with Boulder Financial and previously audit specialist with Moss Adams; Troy Ballard, CEO of Pact Apparel; and Ed Drosdick, a CPA with tremendous business experience.
Montgomery said there continues to be increased demand for more comfortable and casual apparel for cyclists that is still functional and technical.
“Having performance apparel that can be worn on and off the bike is really gaining momentum,” said Montgomery. “The days of just wearing tight lycra jerseys and shorts are fading. There are options now!”