BY JASON NORMAN
NEWBURY PARK, CA—Giant Bicycle will celebrate the opening of the first Giant Bicycle Store this month in Santa Maria, California. Unlike Giant Retail Partner shops that carry multiple brands, 90 percent of bicycles and accessories it carries will be from Giant or distributed by Giant. The company plans to open more Giant Bicycle Stores in the coming months.
The store, called Cycle Star, is 75 miles north of Santa Barbara. Giant retail development and merchandising manager Holly Weise said Giant partnered with owner Scott Clark because he was eager to sell Giant and he has a proven history of success.
“Scott has an excellent track record with his other store in Santa Maria, Mainstreet Cycles,” Wiese said. “He’s very enthusiastic about opening a second store and he’s committed to growing the Giant brand along with his brand.”
Until now, Giant Retail Partner shops have been “Breakaway” stores, featuring fixtures that highlight Giant products, or “Podium” stores, which have been designed from the ground up with Giant-inspired color schemes, messaging, fixtures and lighting.
Giant currently has 80 Breakaway and Podium stores. Ten more are in the planning stages. GRP stores carry other bicycle brands as well as Giant.
Clark has been selling bikes at Mainstreet Cycles since 1986. He accelerated his plans for a second store in Santa Maria when he discovered that another shop in town—which carried Giant—was going out of business.
“When the idea for Cycle Star began to emerge, we already knew our competitor was going away,” Clark said. “This was going to leave two major brands up for grabs, one being Giant Bicycle. I held meetings with both companies at Interbike that year, and the staff at Giant was more interested and willing to listen to our plans. Giant’s history in town, combined with a wonderful corporate staff, made the decision easy.”
Both Clark and Wiese emphasized that Cycle Star will not be just another concept store.
“From my travels and racing throughout California, I have visited many shops and ‘concept stores,’” Clark said. “Some were great, others left me cold. Their store could have been ‘anywhere USA.’ What I have found that makes the difference with Giant’s GBS store idea is that Giant places a very high concern for the dealer first, and the Giant brand second.”
Clark added, “Giant has made this a collaborative effort in that they have given me flexibility to keep and celebrate our local dealer identity while elevating the Giant brand.”
Clark has been working with Wiese and the Giant Retail Development team for several months, planning the look and feel of Cycle Star. The store is expected to open the second week in October, Clark said.
Response to the Giant Bicycle Store design has been so well received among existing Giant retailers that Wiese is already revising estimates for store openings.
“We were targeting two for 2008 and 10 more next year, but with the unbelievable response to our program, I’m quite sure we’ll be increasing our target numbers,” Wiese said.