The residents of coastal New Jersey will remember October 29, 2012 for quite some time. Hurricane Sandy devastated much of the area (among others), making for a tough start to 2013. But Brielle Cyclery pulled it together and ended up having a solid 2013 selling season.
How did your business end up for 2013?
We wound up having a great year. Road continues to dominate sales for us as our location is ideal for road rides. People are buying road bikes to ride with their friends, and we're seeing more groups on the road than in the past. We have the beach riding which is so nice, and when the summer hits and traffic picks up, cyclists head west towards the country for great riding.
How did Hurricane Sandy affect your business?
Our Asbury Park location had seawater run through it, but with the outstanding help of Quality Bicycle Products, we were able to minimize our loss. QBP sent 5 people over to our store to help box all product and transfer it to the Brielle location. We could never repay them for their help. We had to rebuild quite a bit and the Asbury Park location was closed for 6 months. The replacement of bicycles in our community since the storm has increased our sales, however we certainly didn't want it to happen that way.
What is your outlook for 2014?
Because of the horrible Winter we've experienced, people have cabin fever and can't wait to get outside on their bikes. Our January was down a bit, but February was up and March is when things really get moving for us. We're expecting another great year of giving the best service in our area, and getting more people on bikes.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for the industry this year?
Manufacturers need to take concessions into consideration when selling us a program for the year. Some of the models will be lowered drastically just a few months after the program starts, and they need to compensate the dealers for this deduction. Some companies offer help and some do not.
What does Interbike do for your business?
We enjoy seeing the smaller companies, taking advantage of show specials and going to as many educational seminars as possible. But for me, the camaraderie is the biggest take-away from Interbike. I enjoy the dinners and sharing stories, as well as learning from other dealers. I've been in the bicycle business for 44 years, and love to hear what the new, younger generations of owners are doing. They are so excited about the business, and have good ideas. Sometimes they ask me for advice too.