MONTREAL, Quebec (BRAIN)—Expocycle ended on a high note yesterday, as close to 100 suppliers and retailers packed into a meeting room to hear results from Bicycle Trade of Association Canada’s (BTAC) sales data capture and advocacy programs.
“We’re getting more and more bike suppliers participating,” said Janet O’Connell, BTAC’s executive director about the data capture.
Attendees also heard from Sean Wheldrake, urban transportation planner with the city of Toronto, and Usman Valiante, director of cycling advocacy with BTAC.
Valiante said BTAC is partnering with the city on its bike month efforts. While the city of Toronto has a population of 2.6 million people, of all Canadian provinces, Ontario is the biggest but has the least in terms of cycling infrastructure, he said.
Valiante said he will be selling the idea of why government should support cycling, at a time that’s critical, as the province’s liberal party will propose waiving provincial sales tax on bikes and helmets as part of its election platform next month.
Final show attendance figures were not available as of 3 p.m. yesterday, but “we’ve counted over 800 stores,” O’Connell said, predicting that final numbers will be close to or the same as last year. “We’ve also sold a large portion of space for next year,” she added, “and our retail membership is on the rise as well.”
David Bowman, president of Outdoor Gear Canada, one of the largest national distributors, felt there was less traffic from Western Canada. He thought the drop off of Western retailers was due to bad weather this spring that hurt sales.
“But still, most big retailers are here,” Bowman said. “It’s a business show and retailers schedule meetings.”
Loeka’s Coreena Fletcher didn’t mind, as she exhibited for the first time to promote her one-year-old women’s cycling apparel brand to more East Coast retailers.
Also a first-timer was J&B Importers, which showed its in-house stable of brands. “We’re here to show retailers they have an alternative,” said Matthew Boehmer, general manager of the company’s New York branch, adding that he’s mostly pushing the company’s bread-and-butter repair items including wheels and tires.
About 400 people attended the outdoor demo at Ski Bromont, which preceded the three-day show Sept. 8. “Demo attendance is up this year. We had very nice weather which helped,” O’Connell said.
Next year’s show is Sept. 7-9; Outdoor Demo will take place Sept. 6. Montreal will again play host city. —Lynette Carpiet