Could bicycle businesses in this country benefit from the bike-savvy crowds at festivals such as July’s Relentless NASS? Mark Sutton travelled down to the west country to investigate the benefits of exhibiting in front of thousands of new customers…
CHANCES ARE if you’re in charge of a retail store you’ve considered a presence at local festivals, regional races, or you’ve some involvement with the local cycling club. Getting your store’s name known to customers in the local area is vital for any business, though while cementing relationships with regulars is a given, additional revenue opportunities must be created for any business to thrive.
It’s something that month-on-month is mentioned in BikeBiz’s dealer profile article. Each and every store has a story to tell, whether it be mingling among cyclists and non-cyclists alike at events up and down the country, or taking exhibition space to cement a presence in front of the crowds. The latter can work wonders, bringing in customers who would otherwise never come into contact with your brand or store.
With that in mind, it’s a tough call to close during business hours, so when is it worth it? There’s a fair few cycling festivals to choose from – the York Cycle Show, Mountain Mayhem, even Singletrack magazine’s Weekender. Then there’s July’s annual Relentless NASS festival held in Shepton Mallet, Somerset – not strictly a cycling festival, but a gathering of enthusiasts who at the very least have a bit of pocket money to blow on a few t-shirts.
As festivals go, NASS draws a diverse crowd, largely made up of 16 to 25 year old extreme sports fans – from slacklining enthusiasts, right through the core skate, BMX and motocross fans. From an exhibitor’s point of view it’s the diversity of such crowds that makes shutting up shop worthwhile.
Around 14,800 enthusiasts, athletes and press were on site through the weekend, with exhibitors such as Nike, online extreme sports giant Route One and computer gaming publisher EA taking full advantage of those at a loose end during the daylight hours. It wasn’t just the large-scale exhibitors with endless marketing budgets drawing the crowds, however. Smaller stands were doing some very good business as BikeBiz found. In total, 63 exhibitors made the journey, covering around 975 square metres of exhibition space.
Lukas Barta of upstart Czech Republic components company 34R told BikeBiz why his firm chose to traverse europe for NASS. "Since we are very new brand starting international business this year, it was good for us to come over to introduce ourselves to the BMX riders and public in UK. This market is the strongest in Europe, so it’s very important to reach customers here. As a result of exhibiting at NASS we are discussing a distribution link up with one company. We were satisfied and are looking forward to returning next year."
Organisers Sports Vision do plenty to draw the right crowds too, hosting the King of Dirt finals for mountain bike dirt jump fans, while the main arena hosts a large scale jam for skateboarding, BMX and roller blading. There’s even a section for scooter fans, much thanks to this year’s sponsorship by popular brand Razor.
For more information on NASS festival or exhibiting in the retail area, contact Sara at Sportsvision.co.uk on 0207 348 5200. Further photographs from both NASS festival, as well as the article on Federal Bikes, found on page 37 in the August issue, can be found here.
Rare hubs stolen from Crucial BMX stand
The downside of exhibiting at a festival drawing large crowds is that it’s hard to keep an eye on everyone, as Crucial BMX’s owner Scott Summerhayes found.
Despite having a large number of staff manning the stall, several expensive hubs were stolen from the stand, including two super-rare BL Industries iDeal hubs. There’s not many of these hubs in circulation outside Bristol where they are manufactured, so to the trained eye they should be an easy spot. Among the rest of the thieves’ haul were five Profile Mini front hubs, seven Profile Mini rear hubs, as well as two WeThePeople and BSD rear hubs.
Crucial BMX was profiled in the June issue of BikeBiz, where Summerhayes told BikeBiz: "Doing large events like NASS are great for raising our shop’s profile. People from all over the country come to these events, so we’re constantly engaging with new customers, which helps no end in promoting the Crucial brand.