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Pearl Izumi and Shimano launch dealer center

Published February 20, 2012

BOULDER, CO (BRAIN) Feb 20, 16:06 MT—Jason Armknecht does not like rollers, those wheeled clothes racks that salesmen employ to show a product line.

It’s hard to convey just how much Armknecht, who set up the Pearl Izumi/Shimano dealer education center here, loathes rollers. He is embarrassed that there is even one roller full of clothes at the center, even though it's behind a closed door in a sales rep’s office.

“This,” he says, with evident distaste, pointing at the rack, “is not soul. This is not how to show bike clothes.”

In the recent past, Pearl Izumi sales reps would invite dealers to the company headquarters in Broomfield, Colorado, a few miles south of Boulder. Retailers would sit in a conference room while reps wheeled in successive rollers hung with product families.

Besides the presence of rollers, the headquarters lacked a little in the way of bike culture, Armknecht said.

Now, dealers can view the Pearl Izumi line (as well as Shimano and Pro products) by walking around the center’s thoughtfully merchandised 3,000-square-foot showroom, where entire color lines are shown together on walls.

The center serves as a dealer education center, where they can attend workshops on merchandising, sales practices and product service, in addition to viewing the next season’s product lines. The company’s regional sales and tech reps use the center as their home base.

And Armknecht hopes it becomes a part of Colorado’s bike culture, a hub for retailers.

The center is in a non-descript office park off Valmont Road in Boulder. There are no exterior signs — the center is not intended to attract consumers. But the location is right in the heart of Boulder’s bike culture. It’s directly across the street from the recently opened Valmont Bike Park, within sight of Competitor Group’s Boulder office, which houses Velo magazine, VeloNews.com and VeloPress. Even BRAIN’s Boulder office is just down the bike path.

"The bike park is a big draw,” said Armknecht, who keeps a fleet of Yeti demo mountain bikes at the ready. A full product presentation can take four hours, so a spin around the park’s cyclocross course or its gravity features provides a welcome break for retail employees.

The company has a short-term lease as it experiments with the new concept, but so far Armknecht said the response has been positive. The center has been open just four weeks and so far is doing three to four clinics per week.

Besides the dealer clinics and sales meetings, the center’s space could become a resource for dealers. For example, one local retailer is bringing in its top-10 customers for a special Shimano and Pearl Izumi presentation later this month.

‘We show our products merchandised the way we’d like to see them merchandised,” Armknecht said. Which, to be clear, does not involve clothes rollers in the least.

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