GENEVA, Switzerland (BRAIN)—Kona Europe has appointed a UK sales and marketing team as part of parent company Kona Bicycles’ plan to go direct starting July 1.
Previously, the Kona brand had been distributed by Paligap in the UK for eight years. A little over a year ago, Kona Europe decided to take over the UK market. With this UK sales and marketing office in place, Kona now handles direct sales and distribution of about 80 percent of the bikes it produces. Bikes will be shipped to UK dealers from its distribution center in Rotterdam.
Andrew Butler is heading up UK sales. His first order of business will be to visit all current UK Kona dealers. Butler's experience with the UK bicycle market spans 25 years; he’s worked for Kona for the past decade.
“It's an exciting time for the UK bicycle market,” said Butler. “With Kona's established UK customer base, plus the benefits of dealing directly with Kona, dealers can expect a healthy future. Dealers will have access to the immense European stock holding and better margins for 2012.”
Supporting Butler is Meriem Maher, who’s running internal sales for the UK from Kona's Monaco office. Maher has worked for Kona for the past decade. Richard Aelter will handle UK warranties. Aelter brings a wealth of experience as a mechanic for the World Cup downhill circuit.
Rounding out the team is Ben Gaby, who will handle communications in the UK. He will work with the UK press and with Kona’s worldwide marketing group based out of British Columbia, Canada.
Kona is looking to hire more staff for the UK office, the company said in a press release.
Kona began selling bikes in the UK market in 1988. It established its Kona Europe headquarters in Geneva in 1995.