SALT LAKE CITY, UT (BRAIN)—Justin Manthe and Chris Holmes agree: Outdoor Retailer rocks. The bicycle industry veterans are manning a patch of grass outside the Salt Palace sending exhibitors and retailers out on a 30-unit fleet of bikes from Electra.
“There’s a ton of crossover between the outdoor and bicycle industry,” said Holmes, Electra’s product manager. And, as a bonus, they’ve met with outdoor retailers interested in adding the brand in their stores.
The fleet is part of the Park N Pedal project run by Devaki Murch. Volunteers are manning a spot next door where attendees can check their bikes for safekeeping.
“This has been great for us to get this exposure,” Holmes said. “We’ve had dealers come by and we’ve gotten some good leads,” he added. But Manthe, Electra’s director of sales, interjected that before Electra opens new dealers he needs to check and make sure Electras aren’t already sold in the market.
Last year Swobo brought a fleet of bikes for OR attendees to use, but when Swobo bowed out this summer Electra stepped up. The bikes, ranging from brightly colored cruisers sporting wicker baskets to more traditional three-speed city bikes, tend to disappear for an hour or two mid-day as attendees scoop them up to go to lunch or back to their hotels.
Tourists with no connection to the show have stopped by to ask if they could rent them, Holmes said. Manthe and Holmes scan show-goers badges before giving them a bike and, so far, all have come back.
Electra set up the program with Bingham Cyclery, one of Salt Lake’s best-known stores, with two weeks notice. The pair also has sold several units and will settle up with Bingham once the show ends today. “Working with Bingham has made this easy,” said Manthe, noting that Bingham has six stores in Utah.
Manthe and Holmes have yet to cruise the aisles at OR. “It’s my first time here and it’s like a candy store in there and I just haven’t had a chance to look around,” Holmes said.
(PHOTO: From left, Justin Manthe, Bridget Walsh and Chris Holmes. Walsh, formerly Eagle Creek’s director of merchandising, just joined Electra, with offices in Vista, California, as its new lifestyle product manager).