TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (BRAIN) – After 44 years in the business, Bob and Kris McLain have sold McLain Cycle & Fitness to Specialized Bicycle Components. Specialized has not confirmed the purchase and declined to comment on the acquisition or other recent acquisitions. But industry sources tell BRAIN that the company has purchased, or is in the process of purchasing, several other stores and multi-store businesses in several states.
McLain helped establish Traverse City as a mountain biking destination in the 1990s. The store supported local trail building efforts and Bob McLain served as race director for major NORBA and UCI cross-country races that s ‘have taken place there over the past decades. McLain and the store also supported the ongoing Iceman Cometh Challenge race, one of the nation’s biggest mountain biking events.
Bob McLain told BRAIN he contacted Specialized eight or 10 weeks ago to see if they were interested in buying the company.
“I had seen articles in BRAIN (on specialty acquisition or helping retailers sell their stores) and talked to other resellers, so I thought it was worth a phone call, ”McLain said. “I started talking to them to see if they might be interested and of course they know the store because we’ve been specialist dealers from the start. Next thing we know, we had a deal.”
McLain, 63, said he had not made a long-term plan to quit his business.
“I had never really ridden anything. I could work another five or 10 years… at the same time, it was about time. The industry is changing and there is a shortage of products. good but they could be important better if we had more products and I don’t see that changing for a few years, ”he said.
Specialized has been McLain’s main line for years, although the store carries a few other brands, such as Borealis fat bikes. “Specialized has been very good to us over the years. We had the first concept store (Specialized) in Michigan and then a few years later they helped us redesign the store. We’ve obviously been a really good dealer for them, so it was kind of a natural move. “
McLain said Specialized hired all of its employees. He said he was unsure if the company was going to change the names of the stores. McLain has two branches in Traverse City and one in Cadillac.
Specialized recently went on the offensive after losing retail distribution in some key markets, often to Trek. When Trek purchased Bicycle Sports Shop in Austin, Texas, a major Specialized dealer, Specialized opened a company-owned consulting and delivery business and is expected to open a showroom or full store in Austin by then. end of the year.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, Specialized stopped selling bikes to Mike’s Bikes after that 12-store chain was sold to Pon Bike Holdings, the owner of Cervélo, Santa Cruz and other brands of bikes. Mike’s had been primarily a specialty dealer for years and was the largest specialty dealer in the important Bay Area market.
Mike CEO Ken Martin told BRAIN that it was Specialized founder Mike Sinyard’s decision to stop selling bikes to Mike’s after the sale. Martin said Pon was not opposed to stores selling specialty bikes.
Specialized has announced the opening of a delivery operation in the Bay Area to serve customers online. According to Mike’s, Specialized has canceled about 400 prepaid customer bike orders through Mike’s and said Mike’s will no longer provide warranty service on Specialized bikes after October 1.
Mike’s added Giant bikes as the main line. Martin told BRAIN that stores may add several more lines as well.
While Trek has bought dozens of stores in recent years, Specialized hasn’t been so aggressive. The company won’t confirm the number of stores it owns, but it has a long history of operating stores in Costa Mesa and Santa Monica, Calif., As well as specialty experience centers in Boulder, Colo., And Santa Cruz. , in California. Experience centers offer demonstrations and rentals and make bike adjustments but do little to no retail.
In recent months, Specialized has advertised for retail sales positions in Austin, as well as Connecticut (Biker’s Edge), Arizona (Oro Valley Bicycle), Santa Monica; Chicago; Birmingham / Rochester, Michigan; and Long Island City, New York.
BRAIN will report sales from other companies as soon as we can confirm them.