ROWLAND HEIGHTS, Calif. (BRAIN) — After years spent working in bike shops and on the supplier side of the industry, Hank Ku has finally realized his dream of opening his own store. Ku's Giant Store in Rowland Heights, located 23 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, opened in early May.
Ku said that the opportunity to partner with Giant came about as he was nearing the end of a stint working for Specialized in his native Taiwan and then Giant for a time in China. With the encouragement and support of Giant CEO Tony Lo, Ku was able to continue working with Giant once he returned to the U.S., but this time as a retailer.
"I missed my family and friends in California and was ready to come home," said Ku. "But I wanted to stay in the Giant family, and it worked out to open a Giant Store."
Rowland Heights, the heart of a large Asian community, was Ku's first choice for his shop location, both because he speaks Chinese and Taiwanese fluently and because there is little other IBD competition. "There are no bike shops nearby," said Ku. "And I want to provide a service to this community."
The 4,300 square-foot store lies on the edge of a state park and a dirt path provides customers the opportunity to demo bikes. A weekly off-road ride already draws more than 20 riders on a regular basis, and Ku expects that number to grow. Ku worked with Giant USA's retail merchandising specialists to design a professional and inviting retail space featuring the Giant and Liv brands.
Giant has three levels of retail partnership. Giant Stores, like Ku's store, are 100 percent Giant and Liv bikes. Giant Partner Stores are 80 percent Giant/Liv bikes on the floor and Giant Experience Centers are 50 percent Giant/Liv bikes on the floor.
"The bikes and gear are easy to shop, there's a dedicated Liv women's area, and the wide open service department allows customers to see the professional work environment the moment they enter the store," said Reuben Hernandez, Giant national retail services manager.
The store's signage includes Chinese characters, and Ku said all of his five staff members are bilingual, either Chinese-English or Spanish-English. Giant Rowland Heights held a grand opening celebration in early July and Giant's Tony Lo flew from Taiwan to attend the festivities.
"It was an honor to have him here," said Ku. "He is as pleased and excited as I am with the way the store looks."