Independent retailers in most other sectors have died the death. Bike shops hang on in there and many make good money. "I'm envious of the bike trade," said Jim Mackay of Introleisure, one of the new-to-the-cycle-trade exhibitors at the International Cycle Convention which started today.

Think yourself lucky you’re in the bike trade

Mackay is on his third high-quality bike (his first was a hand-built Tony Oliver) and he’s pleased to have brought Introleisure Ltd into the bike trade. Introleisure is an offshot of Introphoto, a long-established camera accessories supplier (it has the exclusive agencies for Bronica cameras and Cokin filters and is inow importing Crumpler camera bags from Australia, which look like courier bags, hence the stand at ICC).

The company has seen the number of independent camera shops decline massivly over the past twenty years, many ‘ICDs’ eaten up by the chains such as Jessops and Dixons. Just 500 or so independents are left.

In contrast, the bike trade’s 2000+ IBDs is positively lively.

"I’m envious of the cycle trade," Mackay told at the Harrogate show.

"You’ve got a healthy independent sector and a product that isn’t digital. Cameras can be made forever smaller. You can’t customise a camera the same way you can ‘own-label’ a bike. You can package bike deals far better. Their very nature gives a lot more room for creativity."

Introphoto’s Crumpler bags (see here on display and with Mackay himself) are bright and in-your-face. They’ll go down a storm with couriers and those who want the ‘in’ bag of the moment.

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