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Alan Goldsmith Keeping Finger on Bike Biz

Published November 27, 2007

SANTA MONICA, CA (BRAIN)—Ever since Alan Goldsmith sold Supergo to Performance in 2002, anticipating his future plans has been an industry-wide guessing game. Seeing him walk the floors at Eurobike, Taipei and Las Vegas was enough to start tongues wagging.

Now that his consulting stint with Specialized on its concept store program and his sale-related contractual obligations to Performance are finished, Goldsmith is again getting queries on what’s next. He is informally advising a few dealers and manufacturers who can benefit from his expertise, but has no immediate plans beyond that level.

“I’m not technically retired because I have investments outside the bike business that require attention, but not management. And while I have checked out a few business opportunities in the bike industry, I’ve concluded that market conditions are not right for me to own any type of bicycle business,” Goldsmith said.

Besides, he added, at age 64, jump-starting a new business is unlikely given what he views as adverse economic conditions. “However, even if conditions were optimum, as they were for example in 1997, 31 years of Supergo’s roller-coaster excitement was enough to satisfy my appetite but also burn me out,” he said.

“To those, including many former employees who wonder if I will try to recreate Supergo, the answer, unfortunately, is that I believe it’s impossible. Like Michael Jordan’s Bulls and Lance’s US Postal, Supergo’s dream-team crew has moved on,” Goldsmith said.

Today, suppliers, products and the market are radically different from the mid-1990s sweet spot he exploited to reach annual sales of $44 million before selling Supergo to Performance.

“Those conditions were the continuous innovations, road comeback, mountain bike boom, manufacturer closures and consolidations, abundant close-outs, booming e-commerce and other factors,” he said.

“Over the years, I have met numerous dealers and manufacturers whom I liked and enjoyed advising. My job at Specialized in 2005, creating their concept store programs, reinforced my awareness of many high-caliber dealers who crave support in upgrading their companies,” he said. Now operating as Bikester, Inc. in a one-man Santa Monica office, Goldsmith will continue to be available to dealers who need his help.

A practicing attorney before opening his bike shop, he continues to ride, travel and study foreign languages. He recently got a lesson in humility when checking out a possible new legal career contributing pro bono services to some public interest law groups. “I quickly discovered that there’s no demand for old lawyers with more experience in retail than law,” he added.

—Marc Sani

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