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Specialized opens pick-up and delivery hub in Austin, plans company store

Published August 16, 2021

PARK CITY, Utah (BRAIN) — Months after Trek bought Specialized's largest dealer in the Austin, Texas, market, Specialized has opened a company-owned operation in the city. Specialized Austin provides virtual consultations and home delivery of web-ordered bikes and equipment. The company plans to have a full retail store in Austin by the end of the year, several sources tell BRAIN.

Michael Browne, Specialized's USA Marketing Director, said the company would have no comment on its Austin retail plans. He previously declined to comment on Specialized's ownership of Oro Valley Bicycles, near Tucson.

Last December, Trek bought Austin's Bicycle Sport Shop, a five-store operation that was one of the largest dealers of Trek and Specialized in the market. The Trek purchase put a big dent in Specialized's distribution in the area. While Specialized's online dealer locator lists several other stores in Austin, none have the reach of Bicycle Sport Shop. Some carry a limited selection of Specialized bikes. The Meteor store, for example, carries only S-Works bikes and equipment. TJ's Cycles, a powersport dealer, carries Specialized e-bikes exclusively.   

According to the Specialized Austin website, the store is managed by Rachael Cook, who is the former COO of Bicycle Sport Shop. 

Local Specialized dealers contacted by BRAIN said they were unconcerned by the company-owned store. The Meteor's David Ross said he welcomed a full-line Specialized dealer. "We get questions from people about bikes we don't carry, because we are just an S-Works dealer. So we think it's good that they will have a shop that carries all the bikes across the board."

At Austin Bike Farm, also a Specialized dealer, manager Lex Janes said, "I don't see it as a major concern unless we don't get any bikes or products (from Specialized)," he said. "Cycling is so big and there is so much space here in Austin ... if you manage your business right you can welcome any new competition."

While Trek has been buying dozens of stores around the country (and elsewhere) for years, Specialized has only dipped its toes into store ownership. In January, it sent a letter to dealers offering to help them if they were considering "divesting, investing, exiting or transferring ownership." In April the company helped the manager of a store in Utah finance the purchase of the store from its founder

Specialized has long operated stores in Costa Mesa and Santa Monica, California, as well as Specialized Experience Centers in Boulder, Colorado, and Santa Cruz, California. The Experience Centers offer demos and rentals and perform bike fits but do little or no retail sales. 

In recent months Specialized has been advertising to fill retail positions in Austin, as well as in Connecticut (at Biker's Edge), Arizona (at Oro Valley Bicycle), Santa Monica; Chicago; and Long Island City, New York. 

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