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Retailer group looks to launch industry-funded marketing campaign for cycling

Published February 22, 2016
20Collective says a 'Got Milk" for cycling could boost participation — and sales at all levels of the industry.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A group of retailers dubbed the 20Collective has launched an initiative to grow cycling participation by establishing an industry-funded “Got Milk”-style marketing campaign for cycling targeted at the general public.

“We’re lacking any sort of direct marketing to consumers outside of the point-zero-five percent of consumers who watch the Tour de France,” said Ian Christie, 20Collective president and owner of Summit Bicycles with four stores in Northern California.

The 20Collective was born out of a two-year Shimano program launched in 2015 bringing together 20 dealers — representing 5 percent of North American IBD sales — four times annually to examine their soft goods business and service department component sales. The 20Collective idea developed from discussions during the group’s meetings.

“While Shimano brought us all together and they’ve given us a bit of leeway in terms of what we want to discuss, this is not a Shimano-driven initiative,” said Scott Helvie, 20Collective’s treasurer and chief operating officer of Bicycle Garage Indy, with three stores in the Indianapolis area. “I think they’ve been very supportive, but their intent of getting this group together wasn’t to drive this program that we’re trying to put together.”

The group is seeking support “at every level of the industry” to create an “industry advancement fund” modeled on efforts that have promoted such industries as RV’ing and fishing through public campaigns, said Alex Obriecht, 20Collective vice president and owner of five-store retailer Race Pace Bicycles in the Baltimore area.

Although the effort is being launched by independent dealers, participation won’t be limited to the IBD channel, 20Collective’s leaders said.

“It would be our goal to establish a voluntary contribution on a per-bike basis to this marketing fund throughout the industry, whether it’s Wal-Mart, or REI, or the IBD, or the Treks, the Giants, the Bianchis, the Jamises and Specialized — long term, a fund that’s paid into regularly so it’s sustainable year after year,” Obriecht said.

Said Christie: “It was clear we don’t want to exclude anyone. This isn’t an IBD-only issue, and we are all of the opinion — even though we’re all IBDs — that we need to advertise cycling as a whole and not exclude online retailers or big-box stores. We need to raise the tide for all boats.”

For more information, visit 20collective.org.

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