The BikeBiz Awards is returning for its 12th iteration this year in a digital format, as we all continue to navigate the uncertainty surrounding live events and COVID-19. But while the world has undoubtedly changed since 2019’s ceremony at The Cycle Show, it still remains more vital than ever to recognise and celebrate the hard work of professionals and companies within the cycling sector.
As we look ahead to 2020’s edition, BikeBiz caught up with last year’s winners to find out what they’ve been up to since. Today, we hear from Darren Mabbott, managing director, Silverfish UK, which won Bike Distributor of the Year 2019.
How has 2020 been for Silverfish UK?
2020 has been a real rollercoaster, but not one of the fun ones! It’s been a hugely challenging time both commercially and personally for everyone. We have all had to remain focused on keeping safe but also to protect our businesses.
Initially, we saw a huge contraction in trade resulting in tough decisions to furlough some of our staff. We also had to take active measures to ensure that we were following Government guidance.
After those first few weeks of the lockdown, business improved significantly and frankly, we were run a little ragged keeping on top of it. Somehow throughout this, we have managed to run a fully functioning operation, something that I am immensely proud of my team for achieving, and the sales trend has thankfully continued. Staff are now back at work and we are now looking ahead and planning for the 2021 season.
How do you think the market has changed in recent months?
It feels like we have emerged into a very different world: supply chains are still seriously affected and we are wrestling with a world where shipping costs and capacity are far from back to normal but we have worked hard with our suppliers to get replenishment stock as quickly and as regularly as we can, as well as encouraging everyone to forward plan.
With major events and large demos cancelled for the foreseeable future, and online retailing even more to the fore, we are rapidly adapting the way we market our brands, be that helping retailers create online store-in-store presentations to examining how to run virtual events.
Most importantly, though, cycling has had a great boost with a whole load of new customers entering or returning to the market. The challenge will be holding onto them and as an industry, we have to lobby hard to ensure Government words translate into effective action and investment, so we all reap the health and environmental benefits.
Despite the obvious tragedy of the situation, we feel fortunate to be in a sector with tangible opportunities and where embracing change will undoubtedly help us and our partners remain successful.
What did it mean to win a BikeBiz Award last year?
We were stoked to pick up the Bike Distributor Award for the second year running, and what made it extra special was to celebrate that win with our long-term partners at Yeti Cycles, who won Bike Brand of the Year. There were a few sore heads the next morning and frankly it’s a miracle that the team, and the beautiful trophies we collected, survived and made it back to Saltash in one piece!
How important do you believe it is to celebrate companies within the cycling industry, especially during this time?
It’s human nature to value recognition. Of course, we’d be working in the bike industry whatever because bikes are what we love but it’s great that the team see the hard work they put in get acknowledged by the industry, and especially as the BikeBiz Awards are voted for by our customers and peers.
It has been a tough year for everyone so the 2020 Awards will be a welcome chance to pause and reflect and celebrate something positive.
The Awards is returning for its 12th iteration this year in a digital format, forgoing a live event to ensure those working tirelessly to keep the sector’s wheels turning can receive the recognition they deserve while ensuring the safety of all involved.
The winners will be revealed online on Friday 11th December. For sponsorship and promotion opportunities, please contact Richard Setters.
Tannus Tyres will act as the headline sponsor for this year’s BikeBiz Awards, and will also sponsor the Innovation from a Newcomer Award. Pure Electric is sponsoring the Cycle Advocacy Award for 2020.