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Felt restructures sales, moves Southern California headquarters

Published November 13, 2017

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Felt Bicycles has made a series of changes under its new ownership, Rossignol Group.

"We're starting chapter three in the history of the company," Bill Duehring, president of Felt, told BRAIN. "Chapter one was when Jim (Felt) founded the company and built his first frame. He sold those frames with the help of Answer Products. After Answer was sold, Jim needed a new set of partners. Jim and I got together with Michael Mullmann to start the second chapter. That chapter was almost 19 years long. We took a company known for high-quality framesets and turned it into a global bike brand. Now in April, Rossignol purchased Felt and we've been working on a plan to relaunch Felt."

Felt announced earlier this month that Jim Felt was leaving the company. It announced last week that Jake Duehring would lead the company's sports marketing efforts, a task previously handled by Jim Felt. 

As part of this relaunch, Felt is transitioning inside sales to Rossignol's inside sales group in Park City, Utah. Those jobs will be moving from Buffalo, New York, and California. Approximately five people are affected by these changes, and Duehring said sales staff were offered opportunities to relocate to Park City. There are no changes, however, to Felt's outside sales. John Georger, longtime national sales manager at Felt, will depart at the end of January.

The company announced the changes to its retailers last week in a dealer letter.

Georger had been with the company 14 years. He and Duehring had worked together nearly 30 years, dating back to their days working for GT Bicycles.

"John's contribution to Felt cannot be summarized in only a few words," said Bill Duehring. "He has been a spectacular contributor to Felt's success from the early beginnings, and his industry knowledge, business insight and personal connections will be greatly missed."

Rossignol's inside sales staff will sell the Time, Rossignol and Felt brands. Nine people will sell both ski and bike products.

Felt's accounting/finance group also will transition to Park City in May. The change began several months ago when Rossignol's Park City location began handling all credit management for Felt.

"This is to control overhead and grow the company efficiently," Duehring said. "We looked at synergies between Rossignol, Felt and Time."

In addition to these changes, Felt recently completed a move into a new, larger facility in Southern California that will become its global headquarters. The new facility in Rancho Santa Margarita is nearly 50 percent larger than its Irvine offices and has a showroom where Felt will be able to host national sales meetings, distributor meetings or retailer training. The new building also has an expanded shop and R&D department.

"We can work faster at making prototypes and we've invested in equipment, so that's a big step up from a facility standpoint for the brand," Duehring said.

The Southern California headquarters will continue to handle product development, engineering, marketing, creative and international sales. And Felt's warehouse will remain in Ontario along with dealer support.

Felt is also moving its German offices from Edewecht to Munich, where it will share space with Rossignol. Duehring said Munich is easy to get to from Los Angeles and also for anyone traveling there from other parts in Europe. He also said it puts the company closer to the bike industry in the region. The move should be completed by the end of the year.

The Munich office will handle sales and marketing for Europe.

"Felt's done a lot of amazing things, but the bicycle industry is under pressure and we have to take a step back and redesign the company so we can move forward," Duehring told BRAIN. "That's what we've done with Rossignol over these past weeks and months to prepare for this.

"Why did we make these changes and tough decisions?" Duehring added. "Because we want to be a better supplier to our dealers. We're going to be a stronger company so we can help that dealer network."


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