OSHKOSH, WI (BRAIN) Tuesday April 10 2012 4:10 PM MT—If the groundhog sees his shadow in February, there are six more weeks of winter. If he can see his reflection in retailer Chris Kegel's head in April, does it forecast a strong season for bike sales?
Kegel, owner of the high-volume Wisconsin retail chain Wheel & Sprocket, has been holding a big spring sale every year for about 28 years. Every year Kegel promises his staff he'll shave his curly locks if sales revenues surpass the previous year's by 20 percent. He hasn't had to get the shave since sometime back in the GW Bush Administration.
But this year, with sales of more than $1.6 million and 1,600 bikes over the four-day sale, Kegel was sporting a shiny dome by Easter time.
"It was kind of the perfect storm this year," Kegel said Tuesday. "We had very strong marketing on TV, radio, newspaper and billboard, plus great weather, a better economy and high gas prices."
Wheel & Sprocket rented a 90,000-square-foot space at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in West Allis, filled it with about 2,200 bikes and ran the sale from Thursday through Sunday last week. The retailer gave space to about 50 event organizers, including clubs, charities and race promoters.
About 11,000 people visited the sale and about 1,000 of them signed up for events, Kegel said.