Following the creation of its cycle division two years ago, Gelert has been ramping up its bicycle presence, with a widening range aimed at a greater number of cyclists. Gelert's Peter Rimmer tells Jonathon Harker about the firm’s ambitious plans…

INTERVIEW: Peter Rimmer, Gelert

This year marks Gelert’s 35th in business, and the anniversary has come at something of a key time for the growing firm.

The company has gone from strength-to-strength selling a whopping 120 million Gelert branded products to consumers, making it amongst the largest suppliers of outdoor products. As an increasingly well recognised outdoor consumer brand, the firm has been adding to its portfolio and in 2008 Gelert first stepped into bikes with the creation of its cycle division.

While the division is young, the department – based in London – boasts over 100 years in the bicycle business, with established brands like Canyon, Kidcool, Xcool and Halcyon under its wing.

“We pride ourselves in carrying great ‘in stock’ availability with a ‘can do’ attitude,” Peter Rimmer tells BikeBiz.

As is apt for anniversaries, Gelert is firmly focused on the future, with enterprising plans. Rimmer elaborates: “From 2011 we have set ourselves ambitious growth targets for both the UK and European markets.

“We are confident that our approach of taking the starting point for new developments with consumer demands, coupled with strong margin opportunities for our dealers, will continue to enable us to develop products that support our brand values and
strengthen our consumer proposition in key existing and new product categories.”

Speaking of products, Gelert’s portfolio includes Halcyon – an adult bike brand launched in May 2009 in the mid to higher-end. Halcyon covers a wide range of popular bike styles, with a fast-growing national dealer base, according to Rimmer.

Gelert also looks after the Canyon and Kidcool brands – both of which were already established when they were acquired in January 2008.

Canyon is a wholly owned Gelert brand, with helmets and accessories offering a wide selection of well-specced and manufactured products with good dealer margins, says Gelert.

Kidcool (and Xcool) are major children’s and teenaged licensed brands for children’s bikes, scooters and accessories, with Gelert acting as exclusive licensee. New websites for both Canyon and Kidcool are set to go live very soon.

“Our Canyon helmet range, which has been substantially expanded during the past year, is one of our star performers,” says Rimmer. “As are our Kidcool children’s bikes and Halcyon adult bike range.”

Thawing sales
“Business is good now after a very tough and challenging winter period,” Rimmer reveals.

“We have added many new products to both our bike and accessory ranges which have boosted sales growth as the season continues.

“Dealer demand for Halcyon has been very exciting during the past three months.”

There are chances to join the Gelert dealer base, with the firm actively seeking to increase its dealer base, especially in South East and South West of England and in Scotland. Gelert has signed up new account managers in order to forge strong dealer relationships with the outfit’s brands.

And retailers joining Gelert’s dealer base will access exciting, evolving lines, says Rimmer: “Our market-led approach ensures that we always have new and innovative products being added to our already comprehensive, fast moving ranges – and we only use the best production facilities for all our components and bikes.

“We offer a great innovative product range of helmets, accessories and adult and children’s bikes which is constantly growing with creative and exclusive new lines.”

And what about stock availability? Rimmer assures it isn’t an issue: “Whilst it would be reckless to say we always do have every item all the time in general terms we always do our very best to ensure our customers receive their requirements. Our account managers can access fast and up-to-date stock information to keep our dealers informed.

“Our experienced and well known in-house product design and development department works closely with worldwide quality factories to deliver exciting new products. This enables us to offer great products with exceptional dealer margins, whilst offering the consumer sensible and affordable prices.

“We have an excellent well stocked distribution base with centres in Porthmadog, North Wales and Widnes in Cheshire which can be operational 24-hours during the high season.

“This network guarantees fast and efficient order turnaround satisfaction for our dealers. Our team of expert sales account managers will cover the whole of the UK and we have two conveniently located showrooms based in London and Haydock in the North West.”

Forthcoming product from the Gelert stable includes the latest from Halcyon, which has now added mountain bikes, fixies, road and race bikes with trekking models. The growing offering also, crucially, provides the firm’s dealers with a full brand stock solution covering all the key cycling areas.

“Our existing dealers already recognise the outstanding build quality of Halcyon and enjoy robust margins and satisfied riders,” Rimmer says of the brand. “We can confidently say that our Halcyon bikes are produced by one of the industry’s most prestigious manufacturer and within the first year of sales the brand has earned a well-deserved top quality reputation.”

A quirky and ethical upcoming product line arriving soon is Planet Green Helmets. Rimmer explains more: “In response to demands from our customers for high quality, low cost, environmentally friendlier products, Gelert – in partnership with our manufacturer – has developed Planet Green Children’s Helmets.

“This product range will be expanded over the next year and with adult models too.

“Our goal is simple: to meet and exceed all social and environmental laws and regulations, eliminate PVC and other health-related components. We achieve that while providing our customers with new and exciting low cost product development that other manufacturers cannot provide.”

Growth strategy
Gelert has the investment, faith in its product lines and a still youthful cycle division to help the firm deliver the tough targets it has placed on itself.

“Gelert has ambitious growth plans and has heavily invested in the infrastructure of the company to maintain this controlled and sustained growth. We are constantly looking for opportunities within the markets we currently trade in and in any markets not yet covered by our extensive products portfolio.

“The cycle division is a key part of the company strategy and represents a large part of this sales growth expectation.”

“Our company strategy is to establish all our brands to be the leading outdoor labels in the European market. That will be acheived by offering a range of contemporary quality outdoor performance products at good value prices,” Rimmer concludes.

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Fax: 020 8459 7170

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