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Tour of California Rocks Retailers’ World

Published February 25, 2008

SANTA ROSA, CA (BRAIN)—“It was crazy.”

That’s how owner Dave Chavis of Dr. J'S Bicycle Bicychiatry in Solvang described the Tour of California as it rolled through town last week.

“More [traffic] flow, more sales, more everything,” Chavis said. Chavis closed his store for an hour during the race, so his staff could check out the first-class competition.

Palo Alto Bicycles in Northern California saw much of the same thing, when their city kicked off the Tour with the Prologue. According to Adam Galuszka, a buyer for the shop, traffic and sales were much better than a normal week during this time of year.

Inclement weather played a huge role in this year’s Tour of California, but the Prologue in Palo Alto featured bright sunshine. That doesn’t mean, however, that teams weren’t watching the long range forecast on The Weather Channel.

“Teams were in our shop looking for rain jackets,” Galuszka said. “We were selling lots of winter goodies for the teams.”

Just to accommodate consumer demand, Palo Alto Bicycles had all 14 employees on hand during the Prologue. “Lots of people were purchasing stuff before they were about to head back home to the Midwest or somewhere else,” Galuszka said. The focus for most consumers was definitely road products, he added.

Much farther south in Santa Clarita, H3 Publications once again held a street party at the end of Stage 6, featuring an expo area and live music—this time in the Westfield Mall parking lot. H3 Publications’ owner Dave house, who for the second straight year spearheaded the event, said it was “four times bigger” than last year.

H3 Publications advertising director Nicole Gonzalez said that both Giant and Specialized flew in dealers for the event. Even though it rained during the evening, Gonzalez was pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Mike “Wick” Wickland, director of sales and promotions for Kore Components, said having a booth there he would have liked to see more traffic for it to be worthwhile.

“I think I saw less than 50 people walk by my booth,” Wickland said. “It just didn’t work. I really appreciate Dave’s efforts. Hats off to him for trying.”

Raleigh director of marketing Reed Pike was at the event, but didn’t have a booth. Pike was quick to point out that House deserves a lot of credit for putting on the event, but said it’s tough to get a good turnout when it’s “cold, windy and rainy.”

An Le, Giant's global marketing director, seemed happy with the way things turned out.

"Rock the Bike had all the elements of a great party—strong industry and community support, close proximity to the Tour Festival, live music and plenty of beer and burritos,” Le said. “Unfortunately, there was also plenty of rain. We did make the best of it, however, and George Hincapie and our High Road riders did brave the elements to sign autographs for our die-hard dealers and fans at the Giant/Shimano booth."

For a company such as Bionicon whose trying to establish its on-the-fly adjustable geometry system into the U.S. market—just being there was a treat.

“It was a fun event for me personally,” said Mic De Min, president of Bionicon. “It wasn’t the turnout that I expected, but I had a good time. I was impressed by the number of vendors.”

Cannondale once again participated in this year’s street party as well.

“The Road [magazine] extravaganza looked like it was going to be awesome with what appeared to be a great location in the parking lot of a huge mall and close to the finish of the race,” said Bill Rudell, marketing manager for Cannondale. “They had a good amount of industry support and the Gin Blossoms scheduled to perform. However, horrible weather and lots of traffic sent most of the spectators to scurry for their fire place after the conclusion of the race.”

(PHOTO courtesy of Marin Bikes.)

—Jason Norman

Topics associated with this article: Events

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