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California retailer Mike's Bikes acquires e-commerce bike brand Public Bikes

Published September 8, 2017

NOVATO, Calif. (BRAIN) — Mike's Bikes, which has 12 locations in Northern California, is acquiring Public Bikes, a San Francisco-based brand that sells city bikes and accessories online and through a limited number of brick-and-mortar stores.

The companies declined to release a purchase price for the deal, which was announced Friday.

Mike's Bikes founder and CEO, Ken Martin, told BRAIN that he expects Public to continue to grow its consumer direct e-commerce sales as it expands sales through Mike's locations.

"Retail-only is tough and consumer-direct is tough. When they merge together is when the magic happens" — Ken Martin

"Both (e-commerce and sales through Mike's) are on a growth trajectory," Martin said. "Public has always had a strong presence in San Francisco, and adding 12 brick-and-mortar stores in the area is going to really increase its presence here."

Nationally, Public's "Assembly Partner" agreements with retailers will remain a key to its e-commerce business, he said. Public also sells wholesale to a small number of stores nationally— it began sales through Mike's stores this spring. Martin said Public would continue to work with its existing wholesale accounts but was undecided about whether to continue to aggressively pursue new wholesale accounts. 

Martin said some brick-and-mortar presence with assembly agreements or other programs is key to growth of e-commerce bike brands. 

"Retail-only is tough and consumer-direct is tough. When they merge together is when the magic happens," he said. He said the move was a continuation of a trend toward the merging of retailer and supplier. 

Public will close its San Francisco headquarters and is in the process of closing its retail locations in San Francisco and Santa Monica. The brand will be headquartered with Mike's Bikes in Novato.

Public's Justin Lamb will oversee product development for Public and for Mike's other bike brands, Creme, NS and Bear. Creme and NS Bikes will be made available through Public Bike's e-commerce site, which Martin said would boost the growth of those brands.

Mike's will now offer fully-assembled delivery of Public bikes through its Mike's Bikes Direct delivery program in most Northern California neighborhoods.

Public was started in 2007 by Rob Forbes, the founder of the Design Within Reach modern furniture retail chain.

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