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Retailers' crystal ball: We ask IBDs their projections for 2021

Published January 7, 2021
Today: Scott Cowan of Century Cycles in Cleveland.

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — As this unforgettable year comes to end, retailers are eager for a little off-season rest, but anxious about the prospects for 2021. Will they have enough supply? Enough workers? Will a soft economy or COVID-19 lockdowns curb demand, or has everyone who ever wanted a bike already got one? 

For a feature in our December magazine, we touched base with 16 retailers to get their take on the 2020 season and their predictions for 2021. We'll be sharing snapshots from those interviews online over the next two weeks.

Scott Cowan, Century Cycles, Cleveland, Ohio

We were up 30% over 2019. Margins have for the most part held. After our spring sale two weeks after COVID we discounted nothing. If we had a crystal ball we never would have had that sale! We’ve historically started discounting in November — not this year.

At this point we’re very confident that the supply side will continue to be very badly upside down for 2021. We’re being told by everyone that Asia is still a mess. We don’t believe 2021 will be as strong as 2020, which may be a high-water mark for some years.

Giant has done a reasonably good job of telling us what to expect and why. John Georger at Univega was a knight in shining armor getting us a pallet here and there, I won’t forget that. Jamis has been absolutely the worst. I’ve gotten six adult bikes since the pandemic. I haven’t seen or heard from my rep. To be fair, we did get a number of kids bikes from them.

We’ve ordered super heavy for 2021. Just-in-time inventory is a great concept, but it doesn’t work when the supplier doesn’t have anything. I’ve ordered so heavily it kinda scares me.

We‘ve always carried a big staff. Bigger than we should in some ways. Hiring mechanics continues to be a huge challenge. It’s not easy to find someone who can write a repair ticket let alone do a repair or build a bike.


Scott Cowan, Century Cycles, Cleveland, Ohio
Topics associated with this article: Crystal Ball

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