MEC Acquires Different Bikes

As announced on the Different Bikes website:

April 1, 2010, Vancouver BC. Different Bikes and Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) today announced that operations and assets of the 4 Different Bikes locations in BC have been acquired by MEC in an all-cash transaction. The Different Bikes stores will now operate as wholly owned satellite locations of MEC, specializing in bicycle sales and service as well as related products and accessories. MEC will refocus its large stores’ bicycle related operations back to selling clearance, house brand and old-stock parts and accessories. It is expected that MEC will accelerate the Different Bikes expansion and will immediately begin to add locations across Canada by opening or acquiring more high service local bike shops in key centres. “Although this may come as a surprise to some of our members”, said an MEC spokesperson, “it is simply a case of acknowledging that if you can’t beat them, you need to join them.” MEC management further described the reasons for the takeover as rooted in taking a serious look at their strategy for entry into the bicycle sales and service market as follows: – Most independent bike dealers (IBDs) provide a range of world class bicycles from multiple proven suppliers. Although MEC uses a virtually identical supply chain to make their line of bikes, we simply couldn’t compete with worldwide and national brands in price, quality, after sale support or selection. Most great bike shops including Different Bikes have several strong brands with many more models and choice than MEC could ever provide. – Most independent bike dealers have a much wider range of quality name brand parts, accessories and clothing than MEC is able to provide, and can much more readily source and provide almost anything a customer needs in short order. – Despite MEC’s dedication to service, we simply can’t match the local neighbourhood access, focused skill sets, committed industry experience and personal support that a strong local bike shop provides cyclists of all levels. In addition, shops like Different Bikes offer added value through free lifetime tune-ups on new bikes, discounts on accessory purchases with new bikes and many other levels of customer loyalty and promotions that MEC simply could not provide in our more volume-based format. – Even on pricing, which was the original reason for the co-op, we have found that the independent bike shops can strongly compete with our pricing on nearly every name brand product that we sell, and especially can easily provide competitive prices on comparable or better bicycles. – It was clear to our board that there is more challenge to serving the bike buying community than just adding some house-brand bikes and repair shops to our huge format operations. We do want to be part of the cycling retail industry and have decided to reposition our efforts in the way that best supports riders – by having real bike shops. “Different Bikes is pleased to be part of the MEC operations and are glad that the co-op has recognized the value of the local and personal independent bike dealer and the range of world class products that they carry and service” said a Different Bikes representative. “ We know that there are many excellent IBDs in Vancouver and across Canada that have helped show MEC what their members really want. We feel fortunate to have been chosen as the organization they will build a strong bike shop business with.” The value of the transaction was not disclosed, but a DB co-owner commented by phone from Maui “let’s remember that MEC doesn’t pay corporate taxes so they have plenty of cash to go around…” Different Bikes branding, web site, product lines, pricing and other operating details are expected to remain unchanged although all staff will soon be wearing those mandatory green vests and teva sandals.

April Fools!

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