Interbike Vice President Pat Hus emailed a missive Thursday urging independent bike dealers (IBDs) to register for the Interbike tradeshow September 16-18 in Las Vegas. The letter drew attention to growing alarm over rapidly changing business models in the bicycle industry.
After listing recent headlines describing Trek Bicycle's decision to begin selling bikes direct to consumers online and the expansion of online retailer Canyon and mobile repair service Beeline Bikes, Hus penned a 520-word essay summing up some of the many challenges facing the U.S. bicycle industry.
“While the Trek news and the Giant response have generated a ton of discussion, the other two are potentially even bigger threats to your way of life and yet no one is talking about it,” wrote Hus. “We’re confident that Canyon is coming to the North American markets, and their model is proven in Europe. They make legitimate high-end bikes and they sell directly to the consumer without a bike shop in the middle. Mobile repair businesses like Beeline Bikes are directly focused on your service business. If they get together with Canyon, you will be facing the most significant threat to your business in years.”
The email goes on to urge recipients to attend Interbike to get up to speed on all the changes.
“This is not a time to bury your head in the sand,” the email read. “Your business, your employees and your customers are expecting you to come up with the answers. The door has been flung open to a new paradigm and now every company in our industry is deciding what to do next. Do you want to sit back and accept what is handed down or do you want to be part of the discussion? Do you want your vendors to hear your ideas? Then you need to be at the show and you need to tell them how important your business is and how they need you. Never before has this been as important as it is now.”
Hus told SGB that the email was intended to motivate retailers, to encourage them to take advantage of the education and networking afforded only at Interbike, not to scare them. “We're not taking sides, we're just recognizing what's going on,” said Hus, who himself has worked his way up through the bicycle industry for the last 35 years. “The reason we put it out there is that we want retailers and suppliers to come together. If you stay home and pretend it’s not happening, that’s a very naïve way of looking at the world. Just like any business, retailers need to evolve. There’s a desire on the supplier’s side to see a rapid evolution in some of these shops. And the Millennial customers needs and expectations are very different than the boomers that are aging out.”
Interbike runs September 14-15 with its Outdoor Demo, and September 16-18 indoors at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV. For more information or to register, click here.
Interbike said that as of the first of September, pre-registration for the show is up about five percent over last year.