Your guide to the finalists

BikeBiz Awards 2010 Finalists: Independent Retailer

Independent Retailer

Pennine Cycles

Pennine Cycles is making its third appearance as a finalist in the BikeBiz Awards and has a long-standing bike heritage, founded way back in 1946. Current owners Paul and Sandra Corcoran (the latter of whom reached the finals of the Yorkshire Woman of Achievement 2010) have been in charge of the business for ten years, during which time the firm has built on its rich history. Pennine Cycles itself handbuilds bespoke Pennine framesets on site in Bradford, Yorkshire, and is part of the SME network, Bradford University Management Centre and contributed to the Director Support Network.

A keen participant in Bike Week and local Cycle Fest, and sponsor of the VC Bradford cycle club, Pennine Cycles boasts an international reach and is a participant in the UKTI Passport to Export Programme.

Bobbin Bicycles
Set up in March 2007 by directors Sian Emmison and Tom Morris, Bobbin Bicycles aimed to approach bike sales from a new angle, specifically for ‘non-sporty’ traditional upright cyclists. After attracting a wealth of attention from the national press, Bobbin moved to a small retail space in Islington in September 2008, setting up what the firm describes as Britain’s first bicycle boutique. The rest, as they say, is history.

Turnover tripled, customers queued to get into the shop and Bobbin upped sticks to a bigger space in September last year. The retailer is now a big player in the cycle chic movement, with 80 per cent of customers women, and further expansion is planned before the end of the year. IBDs looking for another reason to root for Bobbin may be interested to know that they turned down an approach from Tesco to appear in a TV ad.

Rutland Cycling
Established since the early ‘80s, Rutland Cycling has three shops offering retail, maintenance and cycle hire, and a growing worldwide online business – the latter seeing year-on-year sales rise 315 per cent over the last 12 months through the recently revamped site.
The firm holds the accolade of being number one in the Cytech top 50 (2009-2010), providing customers with top-notch ongoing technical support and bike set-up properly to manufacturer’s guidelines.

Customer service is also a priority for Rutland Cycling and its 100-plus dedicated employees. Sporting years of experience and product knowledge, recent surveys have seen 85 per cent rate service as above average. Last year the firm scooped Business of the Year award at the Rutland and Stamford Mercury Business Awards.

18 Bikes
Despite suffering a break-in at the end of last year, the North Derbyshire-based 18 Bikes can count the last year as a positive 12 months. From its picturesque location in Hope in the Peak District National Park, the shop has garned national attention, not least by picking up the Singletrack Reader Award in ’09. 18 Bikes has, of course, previously been nominated for a BikeBiz Award. Joint owners Simon and Matt Bowns have their fingers on the social media pulse, busily found Tweeting, blogging on their own site or engaging in banter on the BikeBiz Forum.

Condor Cycles

By the retailer’s own admission, Condor Cycles is having a massive year. The shop has been fully refurbished and expanded and Condor’s warehouse has been relocated to a site three times the size of the old one. It’s almost full too, BikeBiz is told. The firm is seeing continuous production and has an order book still full from last year’s Cycle Show. With a new website among the projects in the pipeline, Condor Cycles is a continually busy cycle dealer.

Jake’s Bikes
Innovatively operating below the VAT threshold, Bristol-based Jake’s Bikes services and repairs bicycles, builds bespoke bicycles to order and offers tuition and training in cycle maintenance.

Jake’s Bikes, titularly headed up by Jake Voelcker, also buys and sells used bikes and has a sustainability mantra running through the business, helping as many people as possible to lead a greener and healthier lifestyle by encouraging and enabling them to cycle every day.

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