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Specialized helps Utah retailer sell store to manager

Published April 16, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (BRAIN) — Specialized Bicycle Components is guaranteeing financing and providing legal support to help retailer Phil Blomquist sell his Salt Lake store, Bicycle Center, to its longtime manager Chad VanSolkema.

"Chad and I have talked over the last few years about how to transition ownership, but we just hadn't found a way to make it work," Blomquist said in a release from Specialized. "When Specialized entered the picture, the deal accelerated rapidly and in a way that made everyone feel great. After building this business for so many years, I'm honored that Specialized will help carry on this tradition for the staff and community." 

Specialized indicated that it would like to facilitate more such transactions, which it called a "coordinated succession plan." The company said the transfer "forges a unique retail ownership model that provides experienced managers with the opportunity to own and operate their own business. Phasing the transition over time provides owners with operational support from Specialized in areas small businesses often need assistance, such as HR, hiring, and assortment planning."Bicycle Center, Salt Lake City.

VanSolkema, who has managed Bicycle Center for more than 17 years, said, "I'm looking forward to receiving more help from Specialized with things like operations, social media, and staff training. That will allow me to stay focused on the customers and do what I do best."

Specialized said the store is one of its oldest dealers; it carries Specialized bikes exclusively.

Specialized's Jesse Porter said, "We believe in the power of the independent bicycle dealer, and we're sharing this story for those owners and managers who want to ensure their local culture is represented at retail.

"Our innovation doesn't stop at the bike, and we're looking for passionate people to partner up and deliver a bold vision of bicycle retail's future."

Phil Blomquist (left) and Chad VanSolkema.

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