KEYSTONE, CO (BRAIN)—Mario Aponte, owner of Downtown Bicycles in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has been to a lot of dealer meetings with various suppliers over his years in the industry. He said the 2010 Giant bicycles he and approximately 300 other Giant Bicycle retailers saw at the Keystone Resort in Colorado the first week in August were the best ever.
“The 2010 product is the best and most complete bike line I have seen in my 10 years as a Giant dealer,” Aponte said.
Giant’s annual dealer meeting, known as The Link, took place at the Keystone Resort and Conference Center. Two sessions of three-day meetings were interspersed with near-perfect conditions for demo rides in the Gore Range of the Rocky Mountains.
In addition to seeing Giant’s 2010 bicycle line first, the dealers attending also got their first glimpse at dozens of new components that comprise Giant’s new Gear line. Among the latest products are Giant’s Contact SLR composite handlebar, stem, and seatpost line.
Scott Clark, owner of Cycle Star in Santa Maria, California, liked what he saw. “Giant is producing products for people who love and ride bikes—period. That DNA is evident in all the gear that I saw,” he said.
In addition to seeing Giant’s 2010 products and being the first to demo new Giant bikes, the dealers also heard from Elysa Walk, general manager of Giant Bicycle, and Tony Lo, president and chief executive officer of Giant Global.
The cycling boom continues, Lo said, but it’s definitely being affected by the worldwide recession. In spite of that, he told the dealers that globally Giant market share has grown this year. Lo provided his economic forecast for the remainder of 2009, going into 2010. He explained that recovering from the global recession will happen as the result of a “reverse accounting principal—first in, last out. The United States is the first country that really went into recession,” he said. “So it will take it longer to come out.”
Lo said that Taiwan, Japan, and China–the last countries to be affected by the global recession–will be the first to improve. “Taiwan and China will be fine soon,” he said. “Japan will be OK by the end of the year and in the first half of 2010 Europe will come out. The United States will take a bit longer to completely recover.”
Lo urged Giant dealers to keep in mind that "only 18 percent of the global population is involved in cycling. So we have 82 percent of the population as a potential market.”
In her remarks, Walk focused on the company’s strategies to support its retailers. “Making you successful is completely at the core of everything we do," Walk said. "When we do that, it’s a win-win-win. The consumer wins, you win, and, of course, Giant wins.”
In 2010, Giant will place an extra emphasis on working with dealers to improve their consumers' retail experience. “When brands like Pottery Barn, Apple, and Harley-Davidson raise the retail bar, consumers' expectations go sky high,” Walk said. “Bicycle retailers must follow suit, or risk getting left behind.”
Both Aponte and Clark appreciated the comments of Lo and Walk. “The continuity of Giant continues with Tony and Elysa,” Clark said. “My lasting impression is that they both embody all that is Giant, to benefit their valued dealers.”
Aponte echoed that sentiment, adding, “As always, it is a pleasure to hear Tony speak to the dealers. His passion for cycling really shines through; and his optimism for recovery was very encouraging.”