BEND, Ore. (BRAIN) — Industry veteran Mike Albright has launched his own distribution company, Cascade Velo Distribution, where he will cater to small independent retailers.
Albright, who at one time owned a retail store and for the past 18 years had worked at Seattle Bike Supply, is joined by former SBS rep Jesus Sotelo, as key account manager, and Chris Grier, who will rep Cascade in Washington, Northern Idaho and Montana.
"We know that being a small distributor will have its hurdles, but we look forward to the challenge of earning the business of the hard-working retailers in the bicycle industry," Albright said.
The company has set up a website and a B2B portal.
Albright was among a number of SBS reps, customer service staff and others who were let go as SBS restructured its business model as part of Accell North America, now comprising Raleigh, Lapierre, Currie Technologies, Diamondback, Redline and other proprietary brands.
In an interview, Albright said he plans to start small and focus on delivering the kind of customer service retailers need. Albright at one time owned the Bellingham Bike Shop. The new company is a member of the National Bicycle Dealers Association.
Albright and Sotelo have known each other for 28 years, and Albright is talking with other former SBS reps about joining his company.
"That's important for us because they know the grind," he added. "I intend to use my past experience and knowledge gained from industry stalwarts Chuck Hooper, Randy Danioth and Brent Carlson to restore the level of customer service for retailers," said Albright, who recalled how Hooper demanded that reps talk directly every day with dealers, avoiding voicemail whenever possible.
"I'm already working with some great vendors and I'm negotiating with more companies in the U.S. and Asia to bring IBDs quality products along with great value and service," he said.
Among Cascade's current accounts include brands Wald, KMC and AME. Dealers can contact Albright toll free at (844) 879-2453 or at email@example.com.