Bikeforce was set up three years ago by Ivan Dunn, MD of Superstat, a buying group in the UK stationery trade. Dunn has now decided to concentrate on the stationery trade, said Stephen Thomoas, and Bikeforce is to be "mothballed".
"Ivan started the ball rolling with Euretco but he’s decided to stay within the stationery trade. I’ve invested my own money in Profile, it’s a chance for IBDs to promote themselves for the next 10 to 20 years," Thomas told BikeBiz.co.uk.
Dunn told BikeBiz.co.uk that Bikeforce members will get a letter about the future for Bikeforce in the next day or two.
According to BikeEurope’s website, Euretco Tweewielers is to invest £1m in PBS UK Ltd and aims to have 270 IBD members, with a combined turnover of £56m, within five years.
Euretco Tweewielers has 290 members in the Netherlands. Bikeforce currently has 120 members, most of which will migrate across to Profile, said Thomas.
Three Euretco execs, including Te Riele, are flying in to the UK tomorrow for a whistlestop visit to prospective Profile members, and will also scope out the competition, such as Halfords and JJB.
The Profile Bike Specialist UK Ltd. will have an MD, Stephen Thomas as the sales director, and four other members of staff.
Profile membership would cost more than Bikeforce membership but with far greater benefits, said Thomas.
"There’s a lot more meat on the bone. There’s the own-label deal with Giant and for both IBDs and suppliers it’s a win-win situation. IBDs buy centrally and pay just one invoice at the end of the month. Suppliers get paid by Profile within 14 days."
Thomas sees no conflict of interests between Profile and the ACT:
"It’s just the opposite," he told BikeBiz.co.uk.
"ACT have their own area of expertise. Profile is a marketing organisation. I think it’s a case of working together to make IBDs stronger than ever."