As we begin the new year, BikeBiz catches up with five UK distributors to gauge their progress throughout 2019. Today, we hear from Mike Catlin, commercial director, Chicken CycleKit
How has 2019, in general, fared for Chicken CycleKit?
Despite 2019 being a challenging year for the industry, CCK has had another strong season, managing to grow our key brands in this, our 100th anniversary year. We have hired more staff this year while many appear to be reducing their workforce, and I’m sure this has been instrumental in maintaining our growth. I am fortunate to be surrounded by an enthusiastic and driven group of colleagues that are working as hard as possible to ensure our brand partners and most importantly, our customers are being provided with the best service as possible.
What brands have you gained/lost, and what were the reasons behind these changes?
Since Gary (Turner – co-owner) and myself have taken the helm, we have actually taken the decision to reduce our portfolio. We have many world brands to look after and that will be the core of our company focus. We decided it was more important for our customers to ensure the brands they are being asked for, are being delivered in the best way possible on all fronts – this is the most profitable for all of us. We are always open to considering new brand partners but only if we truly feel that it’s to the benefit of them and our customers to work with us.
Brands aside, have there been any major developments throughout the year?
The opening of our Campagnolo training facility and service centre has been a real step forward for the brand. Over 100 dealers came to us to undertake training in the spring and this really helped to promote the brand through the important IBD network. We developed in house a new mudguard, Quickguard, which disrupts quite a conservative category – sales have been fantastic. Our B2B also continues to receive heavy investment and we think it is one of the best, and easiest to use in the trade. We must also say reaching our 100th year to be something of an achievement!
To what extent are you supporting IBDs, and how has this evolved throughout 2019?
Any smart distributor in this business knows how important supporting the IBD network is. We are a straightforward proposition for our customers. We are honest, reliable people that really understand how to market and sell the high-end products we stock. We visit our customers’ businesses with products that their customers want to buy and do not make crazy demands to stock those products. We aren’t beholden to shareholders and don’t harbour any megalomaniacal aims to have to be the biggest, just a partner that IBDs most want to work with.
What are your plans for 2020 and beyond?
We are expanding our sales force again in the new-year both in the field and in-house to help further support our customers. A focus on Campagnolo, Deda Elementi and Prologo will see some major opportunities for our dealer network in 2020 and will be our largest focus. Our sponsorship of the ladies CAMS – Tifosi road team will continue into next season. Also, we will continue to react to our customers’ ever-changing needs and hopefully help them grow their businesses. We aren’t perfect and will always listen to any of our customers that want to tell us where we can be better!
Paul Elliot, director, Bob Elliot: “We have seen a seismic movement into workshop/service over the last couple of years and we have tailored our offerings to suit”