PHOENIX, AZ (BRAIN)—Retailers in Phoenix have tailored their product selection based on a flat city center and the world-class mountain bike trails that surround it by focusing on cool cruisers and hot 29ers, participants on the last day of the BRAIN Dealer Tour of Phoenix discovered.
Rage Cycles stocks fixies, singlespeeds and BMX products, but its core business is high-end and custom built mountain bikes. “We do a lot of big-hit bikes. We’re one of the few shops with armor and full-face helmets,” said owner Peter Perreault, who purchased the shop 10 years ago and moved it into a renovated house built in 1948. But Perreault said it’s seeing real strength right now in 29er hardtails. Of hardtails over $1,000, he estimated 75 percent are 29ers. While the main shop appeals to mountain biking enthusiasts, a shed behind it is a dedicated cruiser shop, complete with a tiki bar. Perreault said cruisers are popular for bar hopping in nearby old town Scottsdale, which has tons of restaurants.
Slippery Pig was a 29er shop for years before the concept really took off. Owner Erik Angermeier said five or six years ago he had a monopoly on 29ers, but other stores have since jumped into the category. “Still, I caught on early enough that when it really caught on I was ready,” said Angermeier, who bought the shop and renamed it nine years ago. Slippery Pig carries more than 20 brands including Ellsworth, Santa Cruz and Niner, but Gary Fisher is the top grossing brand. Angermeier said he makes low commitments from many brands and doesn’t tie up money in big preseason orders. “I’m never loaded in one thing other than 29ers,” he said. “I want to keep my money free to do what I want. I’m not committed to huge money or dollar figures.”
At Bike Barn, “we do a little of everything,” said Mary Halfmann, the store’s manager for the past 20 years. “A lot of people say I bought my first bike here and now I’m buying my kid’s bike here,” she said of the family-oriented shop, which has been in the same location for 53 years. Although it is primarily a Trek and Specialized dealer, it offers a wide selection of Electra cruisers. “We sell a boatload of beach cruisers,” she said, adding that cruisers sell to every age group from kids to adults. Though this Christmas was a bit slower due to the economy, she said cruisers typically sell well during the holidays. In December 2008 it sold 250 Electra cruisers.
For more on the dealer visits and riding in Phoenix, visit the BRAIN Blog.