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With bike sales leading the way, Retrospec expanding footprint

Published November 5, 2020
The multi-sport e-commerce brand with a growing dealer network will move to a 200,000-square-foot distribution center outside of LA in early 2021.

LOS ANGELES (BRAIN) — With product line and revenue growing, it was only a matter of time before Retrospec grew out of its Los Angeles home.

The bike-skate-paddle-snow-fitness e-commerce brand with a growing bicycle dealer network recently signed a new lease to move from its 65,000-square-foot warehouse to a 200,000-square-foot location in Perris, California, about 68 miles east-southeast of L.A. The move is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.

It's quite an expansion from the early days of the company's launch 11 years ago as a seller of fixed-gear and single-speed commuter bikes.

"We have grown double- or triple-digits for 11 years," said Ely Khakshouri, Retrospec founder and CEO. "We were due to grow out of this space one to two years ago, but we bootstrapped longer than we probably should have due to the uncertainty caused by tariffs."

Retrospec's stable of bikes are made in China and range from kids' models to $199.99 beach cruisers to a $459.99 upright gravel/commuter. Khakshouri connected with a China manufacturer "online from my dorm room" to produce his first bike: the Retrospec Alpha fixie. From there, he steadily built the company to include other active sport segments.

"Retrospec's mission was always more about promoting an active and healthy lifestyle and providing accessibility to recreating outdoors," Khakshouri said. "When paddle was a new and emerging category, we felt there was an opportunity to become a leader in that space as we had done in the fixed/commuter bike category."

The bike segment makes up about half of Retrospec's total sales, which are projected to be $50 million in 2020. That's up 150% from 2019, Khakshouri said. "We don't disclose our profits, but we are profitable and have been each year since 2009," he said. "We have not raised any equity capital and have grown organically from the initial investment of $16,000 in 2009."

The best selling models are the Harper fixed gear ($219.99), Beaumont City Bike ($259.99), and Chatham Beach Cruiser (starting at $199.99). Khakshouri said he's had inventory available all summer despite supply-chain shortages affecting the industry.

"We have been told by every dealer that we have had more bikes available than every other bike vendor they work with," he said. "I think a lot of other bike companies paused and/or canceled production early on when COVID-19 cases were rising nationally. We, on the other hand, continued to produce bikes."

Shipping bikes direct-to-consumer is free, and all models come with a 50-day return policy. Through consumer financing company Affirm, three-, six-, or 12-month payment plans are offered.

Along with the move to the new warehouse also comes news Retrospec will offer a line of e-bikes next year. In addition, Khakshouri said a more centrally located L.A. office is in the works once it's safe for staff to work together again. Retrospec has 50 employees.

"Our team has largely adjusted to working from home this year, but we hope an L.A. headquarters location will positively impact commute times and work environment when it's safe to do so," he said.

With bike sales leading the way, Retrospec will expand footprint.

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