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Portland retailer Velotech acquires Trisports.com

Published November 1, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. (BRAIN) —Velotech, Inc., which owns the multi-channel retailer Western Bikeworks and e-commerce site BikeTiresDirect.com, has acquired the TriSports.com brand and has relaunched it in place of its current triathlon brick-and-mortar store and e-commerce site, The Athletes Lounge.

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TriSports was founded in 2000 in Tucson, Arizona, by Seton and Debbie Claggett. It grew into one of the largest triathlon e-commerce sites, but declared bankruptcy in 2013 and announced this summer that it would close following a long battle with banks.

Gary Wallesen, the general manager of The Athletes Lounge, said, "This is an exciting time for triathletes in the Pacific Northwest. We'll continue the TriSports rewards program, and have already moved customer accounts and loyalty points over to our system. We've relaunched the TriSports.com website with the goal of offering a wide range of great products at the best prices, a wealth of resources for training and competing, and exceptional customer service. "

The Athletes Lounge retail store is located in Tigard, a suburb of Portland, and will rebrand as TriSports's brick-and-mortar headquarters. Western Bike Works also has a brick and mortar location in Tigard and another in Portland. BikeTiresDirect also has a brick-and-mortar store at its warehouse in Portland.

The Claggets have consulted with Velotech during the transition.  "We're confident that TriSports will be in good hands, in particular due to Gary's insight and experience," said Seton Claggett.

Wallesen has been involved in triathlon since the 1980s as a competitor, coach, and business owner.

Following TriSports closure this summer, its assetts were purchased by Dan Empfield and Mark Montgomery. Empfield, the publisher of SlowTwitch.com, said the pair were only "temporary custodians" of the brand. In a column on Slowtwitch, Empfield said "I didn’t (and don’t!) want or intend to own a retail store, not least because it would be pretty uncomfortable teaching bike fit to retail bike fitters every year if I was their competition. Just, I felt there was still gas in this business’s tank."

Empfield said he bought the brand to help keep it alive and also to learn from the Claggetts. In an email to BRAIN on Wednesday, Empfield said he and Montgomery were continuing to sell off inventory they acquired, but that Velotech had acquired TriSports' domains and trademarks.

"We will liquidate the remaining inventory in a way that is the least disruptive to the IBD community as we can find," Empfield said. "If there was a way we could have sidestepped buying the inventory we would have, but we couldn’t and there you have it.  For a short period of time there will be two entities selling things that are sorta kinda Trisports.com branded:  The eventual and into the future, Trisports.com online retail operation, and our own liquidation of many tens of thousands of dollars of Trisports.com logo’d apparel, water bottles and whatnot. ...

"Once all that Trisports.com logo’d inventory is liquidated the only remaining expression of Trisports.com will be the entity owned in Portland, Oregon.  We’ll try to liquidate everything as quickly as possible to head off any confusion in consumers’ minds, and so we can stand clear of the efforts of the Velotech folks to build their new brand."

Besides Western Bikeworks, BikeTiresDirect and TriSports.com, Velotech also operates the e-commerce sites cyclocross.com and urbancyclist.com. The company is co-owned by Jay Torborg and Lou Doctor. 

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