SANTA MONICA, CA (BRAIN) — Two former Giant employees are launching a consumer event at a location that would be a first for the industry—adjacent to the historic Santa Monica Pier.
Andy Gilliam, the expo’s director, told Bicycle Retailer that he has secured permits and support from the city to host the Santa Monica Bicycle Expo in a 36,000-square-foot parking lot a short walk from the 104-year-old pier.
The expo will be held May 2-4. The pair picked the dates to fall in between Sea Otter’s early April show and the start of the Tour of California later in May.
The site is also next to the bike path that runs alongside the surf and sand at one of California’s most popular weekend recreation spots, he said. “It’s not in an artificial and cavernous convention hall, but will be in a stunning open-air venue with natural light and a continuous cool ocean breeze,” said Gilliam, a 13-year veteran as an inside sales rep at Giant.
“The SoCal market is lacking a large quality-focused consumer event,” said Christopher Rubin. The last major expo in the region was the Southern California Bicycle Expo held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in 2005.
Both hope to create a long-term show that consumers and exhibitors could plan for year after year. Gilliam said he began thinking about the show more than a year ago. “We just decided to collaborate and do something that made sense,” he said.
Gilliam and Rubin have met with several potential exhibitors. “It’s a challenge, but we’ve gotten good response from the people we’ve contacted,” Gilliam said. Besides industry exhibitors, the pair will reach out to retailers as well as advocacy groups to exhibit.
They point out that Santa Monica’s beach culture attracts a wide demographic of users besides cyclists—runners, skaters and tourists flock to the area during the weekend. “There’s lots of things to do there, so if your wife or family aren’t into cycling they can go to the pier,” he said.
Retailers and others will be allowed to sell on site, but Gilliam said it would not become a flea market. Bicycle suppliers could also offer demo rides since the bike path is next to the parking lot.
A basic 10x10 footprint will cost exhibitors $600 for the three days. Setup begins Friday, May 2, with the event free to consumers Saturday and Sunday. For more information, go to www.bicycle-expo.com or call Gilliam at (310) 210-5063.