COSTA MESA, CA (BRAIN) — If you happen to cruise onto the National Bicycle Dealers Association website, you will find a link to a new blog authored by Fred Clements, executive director of the retailer group.
The Independent Bike Blog launched earlier this month as a forum where Clements and other guest writers could provide commentary on some of the problems and challenges faced by specialty retailers from the dealer’s point of view. Clements said content will be a combination of news and opinion, written in a more casual tone and style.
“The goal is to represent what the dealers are saying, thinking and feeling and provide content dealers will find interesting and others will find interesting too,” Clements said. “My intent is to have a real pro-IBD tone and approach. I don’t intend to be fair and there’s no pretense of being fair or even handed, but rather pro-IBD.”
This is something he alludes to in a tongue-and-cheek description of the blog on the website:
“The Independent Bike Blog is dedicated to the proposition that reality retail is better than online retail in the bicycle business. There are 4,000 real bike stores across the USA selling real bicycles, real accessories, providing real service and existing in all dimension in real time. Most have websites too, but the physical store is where the future of cycling is being created every day, town by town, one interaction at a time….this blog is dedicated to the success of independent bicycle dealers doing business from real stores. Accept no substitutes.”
So far, six posts on the blog address topics ranging from Internet price competition, to profit margins to distribution policies and the Marketplace Fairness Act currently in Congress. But Clements is quick to note that the views and opinions expressed are not necessarily aligned with the NBDA and he says he hopes to have guest writers and other retailers submit content for consideration.
Because of antitrust laws that govern associations like the NBDA, its board must tread carefully when they publicly discuss such topics as pricing or distribution, he said.
“The focus is to bring more attention to distribution channel issues retailers are dealing with, competition from Internet and vendors and distribution policies,” Clements said. “Have a place where this is discussed. Hopefully it will give dealers a voice and let vendor community see what’s concerning dealers.”