US dealers ready for schmoozefest

Two weeks ago, US and global editors were wined and dined in Utah. Soon, in same resort, it's the turn of US bike shop owners.
By Carlton Reid ,

The first DealerCamp takes place in Deer Valley Resort, Park City, Utah, over three days at the end of July.

DealerCamp will feature nearly 60 exhibiting bicycle industry brands, including BionX, Breezer, Carnac, Charge, Cinelli, Commencal, Dainese, DeFeet, Fox, Gore RideOn, Lazer Helmets, RaceFace, Rock Shox, Osprey Packs, Scott, Shimano, SRAM, Speedplay, Zipp and Zoic.

Specialized and Trek can afford in-house dealer shows; accessory brands and smaller bike brands usually can't. Step forward go-between company Lifeboat Events and DealerCamp. In the critical mid-summer 'open to buy' period, IBDs who've yet to nail down next year's orders, will be shown pre-Eurobike, 2011 bikes and kit.

At the all-day outdoor expo, IBDs can oggle product or can mount up for test rides on 2011 demo bikes. In the evening there will be opportunities for private - or communal - eats and beers.

Subsidised bike shop owners will be provided with up-scale lodging and will get given schwag bags stuffed with sweeteners (think socks and oodles of product samples) and won't pay full whack for their travel.

This was the basic model rolled out last year, and this, for the editor-only PressCamp. Tweaking the model for IBDs is Lifeboat Events' founder and president, Lance Camisasca, former organiser of Interbike.

“We set out to create an event that serves the bicycle industry’s needs in a location that represents cycling,” said Camisasca.

“Having just completed our PressCamp event in Deer Valley, we know that this area is perfect for this type of thing. The demo terrain is outstanding, the resort and Park City are welcoming us with open arms, and enthusiasm from the industry is tremendous."

Single-brand store owners/managers aren't the target market (they get own-brand schmoozefests). The target market is the multi-brand IBD which lives up to the IBD-tag: independent.

Lance Donnell, president and CEO of Sinclair Imports, said:

“It is so important to reach independent dealers in the critical July/August period. This is when brands are being decided and budgets allocated. With DealerCamp, we get a chance to show many of the best US bike shops some exciting new products and talk about working together before their ‘open to buy’ is soaked up by the big guys.”

Despite the increasing importance of company-owned stores in the US (and the UK), the 'open to buy' IBD - a retailer who has not yet allocated merchandise spend – is still all-important. DealerCamp is an opportunity for companies to pool resources to reach the elite IBDs; before Eurobike, before Interbike.

One hundred IBDs are receiving free lodging and a travel stipend to attend DealerCamp. Lifeboat Events has issued the subsidy invitations, choosing shops identified by exhibitors. Subsidised spots were made available to these invited retailers on a first-come first-served basis.

Other qualified retailers can attend DealerCamp at their own expense. More than 200 retailers from across the US are registered to attend DealerCamp.

Several special events are planned during DealerCamp. The opening reception on July 29th will feature a live auction fundraiser spearheaded by Speedplay and benefiting the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame. QBP and NuVinci are planning evening networking events.

Camisasca said: "DealerCamp’s intimate format will allow suppliers and retailers to enjoy focused discussions while testing the latest equipment on epic roads and trails."