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Utah retailer works to establish a new name, and eyes expansion after agreement with Canyon

Published October 10, 2017

DRAPER, Utah (BRAIN) — After 24 years in business, the four Canyon Bicycles stores in the Salt Lake City area are sporting a new name — Hangar 15 — following an agreement with the German consumer-direct brand Canyon.

The retailer began promoting the new name in the summer, first by renaming the store's pro road racing team, which has a UCI Continental registration. Owner Mike Pratt has been slowly rolling out new signage on his stores and in social media and other marketing over the summer and fall, and plans a big marketing push in the spring to let area riders know that it's the same stores, with the same owner, just a new name.

"I hear from our sales people that folks are asking, 'What happened? Why the name change? Did I sell the stores?' So I know we need to keep getting the word out," Pratt told BRAIN recently.

The agreement was reached three weeks before the start of the Tour of Utah, and the team name change was a relatively big project, requiring new race kit and other team items and rebadging team vehicles, as well as permission from racing officials. It paid off with the Hangar 15 name getting considerable airtime during TV coverage of the race. It seemed almost every time TV announcers mentioned the team, they made clear it was the new name for the retail chain.

And the team got a lot of mentions during the race.

"Our guys were very aggressive: They got in just about every break. So that helped get the word out to people that follow racing, at least," Pratt said. One Tour of Utah stage finished very close to a Hangar 15 store location, and Pratt made sure to re-sign that location in time for the stage.

Pratt said he was in talks with Canyon for 22 months and that terms of the agreement are confidential. In conversation Pratt indicated that the physical costs of making the name changes to the team and the stores, as well marketing those changes, will not be a financial burden.

Pratt said it was a difficult decision to agree to change a name he has used since 1993. The name means a lot to him — even his son's middle name is Canyon.

"Some people are surprised I gave it up, but I put months and months of thought into it and decided to make a business decision, not an emotional decision."

In an email to BRAIN, Canyon CEO and founder Roman Arnold said Canyon has "resolved its name issues with Mr. Pratt amicably and fully," adding that, "we wish him continued success in his business."

Pratt said he also was satisfied with the agreement, calling it "inevitable." Pratt's stores probably would have been able to continue with the Canyon name, and it's worth noting that there are at least two other bike stores in the U.S. with similar names: Canyon Bikes in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and Canyon Bicycles in Canyon Country, California. Those stores are not changing their names.

But Pratt's stores are much larger businesses than the others, and he has promoted the name nationally through the race team. Pratt is considering expansion plans including franchising and/or new locations in Utah or other states. He said any unsettled business with Canyon might have been a barrier to those plans.

"I'm happy with the outcome. ... I needed to be able to move forward without feeling like I was restricted in what I'm doing."

Pratt recently decided not to fund the pro race team next year, although his stores will continue to support an elite-level team and he's open to launching a new pro team in the future.

As for the new name, Pratt said there's no romantic story behind it. "Fifteen is my favorite number. As for 'Hangar,' we were looking for something that was trademarkable and would work nationwide. It's the result of a year and a half of brainstorming. I was in the military, but I was never in the air wing. But 'Hangar' just sounded kind of badass. People like it. So we'll get used to it."

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