BRaIN celebrated the Top 100 retailers at Interbike. 1,000 dealers jeered. Eddy Merckx smiled.
It’s really the Top 133, with an added superstar list of 33 (5-Star Retailers) who have made the 100 list the past five years. More dealers on the list, less jeering, so the thinking goes.
The entire undertaking is a bit of a crapshoot. Due to the nature of the voting process (balloting by leading-brand sales reps), it’s a good but certainly not perfect way to identify the top shops.
I am not criticizing the process. In fact, I helped develop the weighted-ballot method back in 1997. When we started VeloBusiness (with Felix Magowan’s money, Ted Costantino’s brains), we bought the rights to the Top 100 from BDS.
I will say that the outcome, the current list, is flawed in one significant way: It is biased against single-brand stores, especially Trek stores.
Back in ’97, virtually all the top stores had two and sometimes three major brands, so this wasn’t a problem. Now, if you’re doing 90% of your business with Trek, what other rep is going to vote for you?
So in 2010, there is one store on the list with Trek in their name, in Ventura, CA. No sign of deserving winners like Jax in southern Cal, Mike Olson’s Trek stores in San Diego, the Midwest chain in Omaha/KC/St. Loo, Free-Flite in Atlanta, there are more.
What’s to be done? Again, glad to hear your suggestions. Many ideas have been discussed and dismissed. Thomas Prehn has done this thankless job (“100 dealers happy, 1,000 unhappy!”) with the existing system and gotten good results.
More weight to the Trek and Specialized rep votes? Please, that’s as tough a sell to dealers as... not going there. Consumer voting? Even easier to stuff the ballot box than arm-twisting your reps.
Anyway, to finish up for this week, I’d like to pare the Top Dog Dealers down to 13… the baker’s dozen shops that were on the first BDS Top 100 list 22 years ago and are still there today.
Hats off to you, ladies and gentlemen! For excellence AND perseverance!
PS: Thanks to Brad Hill at Goodale’s, he got me going on this yesterday. He's a 33, but not a 13