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Frostbike 2015: QBP welcomes retailers and suppliers for annual gathering

Published February 21, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (BRAIN) —  Old man winter played Minnesota nice and released his icy grip on the Midwest just in time for QBP's annual Frostbike event, which kicked off Friday at its Twin City headquarters. Bearable temperatures and minimal snowfall welcomed representatives from nearly 400 IBDs and 145 brands flocking to QBP's annual winter powwow. 

For the first time in Frostbike's more 25-year-plus history, QBP hosted its dealers, vendors and media at hotels in downtown Minneapolis instead of nearby Bloomington. As the event has grown over the years, organizers said it had reached capacity at hotels historically used. "Plus the downtown offers more of a Minnesota experience," said Heidi Lottes, event coordinator at QBP. "It's something we looked at doing for a couple of years, based on feedback from attendees. It has also allowed us to expand because there are more hotel and other resources downtown."
 
Also new to the show were a number of VIP dealer events, including the Indie Sessions that started on Wednesday. Made up of a group of small dealers working in a peer-to-peer environment, the Indie Sessions provided a forum for dealers to share best practices and solutions to challenges small retailers face. The traditional fat bike race took place on Saturday evening, as well as a first-time biathlon that required dealers to test their snow riding skills on fat bikes and their aim in a tennis ball throwing contest. 

With much of the Midwest and Northeast still under snow and an ever-increasing drought continuing to plague the West, the retail pulse for the coming season seems to be all over the board. And although a tentative agreement was reached late Friday in the West Coast port labor dispute, most suppliers agreed that while the cycling season is only just coming out of hibernation, they're feeling the effects of the massive shipping backlog. 

"We have absolutely felt it," said Jason Overman, North American sales manager for Kinetic. "With the short season for trainers that lasts just two months in October and November, we're already planning ahead and trying to get orders done early. If we can't get products for that window, it's detrimental."

Frostbike continues through Sunday, with seminars, fat bike demos and the expo running into the afternoon. Look for expanded Frostbike coverage in the March 15 issue of Bicycle Retailer

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