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QBP holds first dealer event at its East Coast distribution center

Published October 21, 2015

LANCASTER, Pa. (BRAIN) — QBP welcomed retailers and suppliers to its first-ever Biketoberfest event this week. Some 175 retailers and about 30 brands convened in Lancaster, located an hour and a half west of Philadelphia. The quaint town is home to the country's oldest farmers' market (established in 1730), America's oldest Amish settlement, and QBP's East Coast distribution center, which opened in January.

A smaller and more intimate version of Frostbike and SaddleDrive, Biketoberfest is QBP's first East Coast event. It kicked off Sunday evening with a welcome dinner at the Q-East distribution center, followed by two days of bike and product demos at Rocky Ridge State Park in crisp fall weather.

Retailers, who traveled mostly from the Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states, took advantage of the intimate venue and ample supply of bikes to ride amid colorful autumn foliage. Popular models included the Salsa full-suspension 27.5-plus Pony Rustler, the Salsa Cutthroat drop-bar 29er and fat bikes from QBP's newest brand, Heller. Shop employees who didn't attend Interbike had the opportunity to see and ride 2016 models, as well as demo Laser helmets and iSSi pedals.

Besides offering regional dealers a chance to ride and see 2016 product they may have missed at earlier events, there were plenty of educational opportunities built into the agenda. But it was also a chance for QBP to promote its new Dealer's Choice program, which it launched at Interbike.

"The focus of this event is to bring in the dealers who are partnering with us, buying our products and educating them on the product, giving them a chance to ride it and then selling Dealer's Choice," said Alix Magner, QBP's national sales manager. "It is selling a strategy. A lot of the conversations are about the new direction we're heading in as a company and how we are supporting IBDs. This is a new way for us to do that."

Dealer's Choice includes about 28 suppliers that QBP has vetted for quality and policies supporting the IBD. Dealers who want to participate in the program can do so by committing to buy-ins and stocking orders from the participating brands of their choice. But Magner said it won't require pre-season orders or committing to huge amounts of product. Retailers will receive ongoing discounts from Dealer's Choice vendors they do business with, and once they buy 12 of the brands, dealers will earn rebates on any bikes and frames they buy from QBP.

A full schedule of seminars took place both days at the host hotel in historic downtown Lancaster. Topics included shop design and winter projects, presented by retail design guru Brian Hawkins; Finance 102 with QBP's Todd Cravens; and several QBP brand-specific classes.

In between seminars, retailers wandered through the showroom to talk to with participating vendors in the Dealer's Choice program, including Laser, Burley, Ergon, WTB and Louis Garneau. "It's been great," said Gary Gleason, WTB's director of global sales. "The traffic has been a little light, but it's the first year. What's really cool is that every retailer who has stopped in to visit us is ready to spend a lot of time to chat and see the whole line. We're really glad we came."

On Sunday, QBP held its inaugural Service Summit, which drew 55 techs and service managers from the region for product-specific seminars from Shimano, Campagnolo, SRAM and KS. It also covered broader topics like service writing and how to make your service department more profitable.

Some attendees stayed for Biketoberfest, including Garrett Kostbar, a service manager for Spokes, Etc. in Vienna, Va.

"The summit was really good. There was a lot of healthy content and I am coming away with ideas to make our shop more profitable," he said. "And the seminars here at Biketoberfest have been very helpful, especially the shop design seminar with Brian Hawkins. He did a good job of putting things into perspective."

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