Coming up to its second anniversary, The Triathlon Shop is well placed to grow with the sport. Co-owner Jon Burrage speaks with BikeBiz
How’s the triathlon scene in Bristol?
It’s very strong, with several major tri clubs to support different parts of the city and athletes coming from different backgrounds – some cater for pure triathletes, some cater for those who have come to the sport from running or cycling – it is a very easily accessible sport in the area. It helps that we have a selection of major triathlon publications based on our doorstep and some strong distributors too because it allows for the sport of triathlon and its constituent disciplines to be more widely known.
Are your staffers all keen tri fans?
We all compete. Myself and Will Poole, our workshop manager, have over 24 years of competitive triathlon experience between us. Our sales staff members are all competitive triathletes and cyclists too with World Championship appearances and various road race victories to their names.
You’ve won an 220 Triathlon award?
Yes, to be recognised by triathletes up and down the country in the voting for this award was a huge pat on the back for what we had done. It is a fantastic compliment and from our point of view we need to thank our fantastic staff and the superb support we have had from the tri community here in Bristol. It isn’t an easy time to start a business but we hope our enthusiasm, commitment to stocking great kit and our energetic support of lots of local events shows that we aren’t just a shop but are part of the sport.
How does the shop support events?
We support selected events which we can really get involved in. One of the main event organisers we work with is DBMax which offers excellent races across the South West. We also look to support local club races. We provide race day bags, numbers and prizes which are given to event winners, age group category winners and various spot positions at each race. We like to give athletes of all standards something to take home and be proud of.
Can you tell us a bit about the shop’s history? When it was founded?
The business is co-owned by myself and my fiancé. We are both keen triathletes although the rigours of running a new business have certainly affected the hours we can dedicate to training! With both of us being in our 20s we had limited commitments outside of the business and therefore it seemed to us to be the ideal time to start this venture.
Has it been a good year for the triathlon industry?
I think it has been a strong year for the entire sports industry in the UK. The summer of sport we have enjoyed has been unparalleled and has certainly created a buzz amongst stores in this area. From Bradley Wiggins’ success in the lead up to and in the Tour itself, the Olympics obviously and even late on in the season Leanda Cave being crowned both 70.3 and Ironman world champion and Jonny Brownlee taking the World triathlon champions crown we are enjoying success like never before as a nation. We are extremely lucky to have a federation with major sponsors and strong financial backing through the National Lottery which means tri can grow and prosper. But it would be great if the mainstream media supported it more.
Any plans to expand?
In short, yes. We have rapidly outgrown our current premises so we are actively looking at larger alternatives. We wouldn’t want to move to a model which requires several locations because we feel our knowledge, attitude and service sets us apart. By opening more stores we would run the risk of losing what makes us special.
Has the interest in triathlon grown over the last five years?
Triathlon is a rapidly growing sport, the boom in large, major triathlons such as Blenheim, London and Liverpool has helped fuel this by making the sport more visible and attainable. Tri is a very welcoming sport as I said and it is something that as both an athlete and business owner I feel very lucky to be involved in. Let’s hope it continues to go well for us and for everyone involved in the sport at all levels.
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