There have been multiple, sole-supplier shows around the country in the past few weeks – including those from Moore Large, Raleigh, Fisher Outdoor Leisure, Madison, Trek and others – and there’s the Bicycle Association trade show in Harrogate in May.
This amounts to a lot of travel and a great deal of time away from the business for IBDs seeking range info.
Heads have got to be banged together, believes David Wilsher, the outspoken president of the Association of Cycle Traders.
In a letter sent to Patrick Barker, president of the Bicycle Association, just before the Cycle & Leisure Show, Wilsher spelt out his position:
“The trade show issue must be resolved for 2003. The current position is totally chaotic. It cannot continue in this manner, it is helping neither of our two associations and the membership of both is in a state of unrest…The way forward has got to be one major show run for the industry by the industry.”
By that he meant a joint BA/ACT trade show but Wilsher nailed no colours to any masts when it comes to organiser: “Who is chosen to run the show is not important at this stage.”
However, Wilsher stresses that the politics and personality clashes that lie at the heart of the trade show debacle could backfire and would let another exhibitor free rein to pick up the pieces and install their own show in the Spring calendar.
“If we let the opportunity go then the owners of the Business Design Centre could easily hijack the show for 2003. Both our organisations have overlapping commitments and we should now be combining our efforts to save expenditure and move the industry forward.”
David Hyde is up for this and said:
“We put money on the table when we started the Cycle & Leisure Show in 1999 after the Bicycle Association let the show I organised for them collapse. Profits from my show have helped fund a range of ACT and industry projects.
“My business is running exhibitions so let’s kick the politics to one side. This year’s show might have been more compact but the exhibitors were here to do real business. With the late entry of Concept and the presence of major players like Universal and Giant I think we could fairly claim that 70 percent of the UK cycle supply business by volume was here at the show. IBDs don’t want to be travelling the country for weeks on end, they want one big trade show.”