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Factory move invigorates Allied Cycle Works

Published November 27, 2019
Company will leave Little Rock for the Bentonville area in March.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (BRAIN) — It's the perfect move in more ways than one.

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Allied Cycle Works will relocate all of its manufacturing operations from Little Rock to Rogers, Arkansas, and go online in March. Rogers, about 200 miles northwest of Little Rock, is near the growing bike-tourist Bentonville area.

"We have people moving to northwest Arkansas from various places in the U.S. because of the access to year-round riding," said Allied CEO Brendan Quirk. "For us, it's a built-in talent pool. The real estate is inexpensive. Compared to, say moving from Northern California or Colorado, it's way less expensive. Bike-industry wages are not the greatest, and you've got people in their early 30s with a young family, and they can afford to buy a nice house. And they're not going to sit all day in traffic. So it's definitely a quality-of-life issue. It was an easy decision for us."

Then there's the building itself, a 16,000 square-foot former ice manufacturing facility. Manufacturing ice requires a lot of electricity and compressed air.

So does carbon fiber frame and fork manufacturing, which is Allied's preferred material.

"So, the fact the building was already kind of pre-built with the utilities was a huge win for us," Quirk said. "We were really excited about that. It was kind of like we won the lottery when we found this place."

Quirk joined Allied in September after working as the cycling program director for Runway Group, owned by Tom and Steuart Walton, who are Allied investors.

The Rogers facility will allow Allied to implement a lean manufacturing initiative and redesign its layout. While the Rogers facility will be about 2,000 square-feet smaller, "it will give us a higher level of labor efficiency and quality control than we've ever had," Quirk said.

He said in addition to some equipment upgrades, the paint department will be new.

Quirk said about six to seven employees will make the move to Rogers. About 25 employees will work in the new facility to start, and recruitment will begin 30-45 days before manufacturing begins. Allied's sales and marketing teams have been located in Bentonville, about eight miles from Rogers. Quirk expects to make quick hirings because of the area's deep talent pool.

The move will kick off the first quarter of 2020, which promises to be an exciting year for Allied, Quirk said. The company is invested in gravel riding and racing and plans to build on last year's launch of the Able gravel bike.

"We're fired up," Quirk said. "The Able has been a real hit for us. This is an opportunity for us to really get laser focused on innovating in gravel and telling our story to the nation. The most fun you can have on this bike is a ride where it's one-third on pavement, one-third on gravel and one-third on singletrack. We're excited to be in northwest Arkansas because we can ride it more in that application. There's so much more singletrack up there. It's consistent with the bike that we're really focused on to drive our growth next year."

Allied Cycle Works has a lot invested in the Able gravel bike.

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