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Heather Mason: This is not a goodbye

Published March 2, 2021

This past year with Bicycle Retailer & Industry News has been incredible. While I never actually stepped foot in the office or met up with Steve for a ride as planned, I had the opportunity to write many columns from my home or hotel. I was often scribbling notes on pads in bicycle shop parking lots, and on the side of the road after a call with a dealer.

This past year I had the fantastic opportunity to share not only my voice but the collective voices of my retail partners within my columns. For the length of my industry career, I have shared my insights, passions, and retailer feedback within my private emails to dealers and friends. BRAIN provided me a platform to reach so many members of our industry. My role as columnist inspired me to think harder, dig deeper, and expand my content. This past year taught me that in order to be relevant, I need to understand the concerns and fears of retailers and connect on an even deeper level. This past year, while tough in our environment, provided me so much personal growth.

Sitting down to write this is exciting. This is not a goodbye, rather an introduction to follow me in my new role as president of the National Bicycle Dealers Association. Given the opportunity to be the face of the bicycle retailer, and to strengthen our position with suppliers, advocacy groups, and industry peers is a defining moment in my life. Hopefully you have followed my column over the last year and have a glimpse of my personality and hopes for our industry. Cycling is my passion. I believe in honesty and relationships, and how, when we create community, we only get stronger.

In 2021 my focus is on transparency. Transparency between retailers, suppliers, journalists, event producers, and advocacy organizations. We need more butts on bikes and to keep this boom cycle moving. We need to work together for profitable shops and smooth supply chains. We need to keep our events on the calendar and continue to advocate for safe routes and open trails.

Visit the NBDA's outstanding programs such as the Outspokin' Blog, Webinars, and the Bicycle Retail Radio podcast to continue to find my personalized retailer insights, combined with the depth of knowledge from our board, suppliers, and industry friends. We are getting nitty-gritty focusing on the front lines, feet-on-the-ground of how we operate. Let's step back and look at staff training, merchandising, and building a community. We will dig into profitability, turns, and the all-important bottom line.

While the past year has left tremors in our community, we have also witnessed a huge potential for opportunity with the increase of new riders. I raise a strong toast to focusing on the consumer. Let's make entry into becoming a cyclist easy, let's continue to create opportunities to ride and a community of passion-filled retailers, suppliers, and advocates standing by to produce content to keep them engaged.

Provide a central voice and opportunity for explanation and collaboration. As I write this it has been exactly 4 days since I started with the NBDA and I have never felt more at home.

So, to the industry: we are far from perfect, but we need each other. I ask one thing: support each other. Join our industry organizations, subscribe to BRAIN, take part in shows, and join in the conversations with suppliers and peers when able. We all need to take an active role to see positive change.

Hugs. — Heather

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