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The Pro's Closet using warehouse bike shop as test retail location

Published January 30, 2023

LOUISVILLE, Colo. (BRAIN) — The Pro's Closet bills its pilot store here as "The Denver metro area's largest bike shop."

With about 3,000 bikes and 7,000 to 8,000 parts and accessory SKUs, it's not an idle claim. The retail store, located on the eastern end of the warehouse, is a test idea of sorts as the certified pre-owned company begins branching out from former CEO Nick Martin's humble beginnings selling bikes out of a VW bus.

After growing into an e-commerce giant and moving into a 137,000-square-foot Louisville facility in 2021, the bike shop became fully operational last summer after Paul Calandrella was hired to be vice president of strategy and merchandising and leader of the development of an omni-customer experience.

The showroom has about 100 new and pre-owned bikes in the 5,000 square-foot shop. Calandrella said all of the warehouse's SKUs are available for purchase onsite. "You can log on, search the site, and we can hot pick any given SKU within 15 minutes," he said. "You can also come through the door if you don't know what you want and literally have anything in the warehouse in your hands within 15 minutes."

Calandrella, who came from REI Co-op as divisional vice president of activity strategy, said it's always been TPC's intent to establish a retail presence.

"We have a fairly healthy network of trade-up partners that we do trade-ins with and through and credits we offer them and their customers. I've always argued that part of our IRL footprint has always existed and that's through that partnership with IBDs."

The trade-up program allows a consumer to trade their bike or component to TPC to get a voucher redeemable for a new bike from participating brands.

While Calandrella said the retail location will skew 80-85% pre-owned, TPC carries new bike brands All-City, Surly, Orbea, and Rocky Mountain. It also recently added mountain bike brands Evil and Forbidden. A wide variety of parts and accessories brands also are available at the store.

TPC has done a soft launch of its service shop, and Calandrella said the company will begin marketing that aspect in the next month. He said the company has anywhere between 30 to 50 service techs on-site and won't need to hire additional staff to cover the bike shop.

"We have ample capacity to put a bike through stages of refurbishment, but we'll also be doing suspension services and al la carte service writing," he said. "Bring the bike in for an assessment, and we'll tell you about any parts replacements you need, upgrades, and execute that all on-site. We have a master tech who's come over who's dedicated from the refurbishment line to lead services for retail, and we'll be cross-training line techs and master techs from refurbishment over to retail."

Learning about retail operation — replenishment, assortment mix, point of sale integration — is ongoing in Louisville with Calandrella saying expansion to other cities and states is planned with the first expansion potentially on tap for next year.

"Our ambition is not massive. We really look at that as a way to introduce the brand potentially in markets where we're lesser known. We have a road map that lays out the future opportunity of where we might go, but right now we're very much in prototype and learning mode locally. We can't learn everything we need to on-site, but it sure would be nice to be close to the mothership. So to have a second pilot location in Colorado, to learn some of the additional operational efficiencies, is a logical next step. And then we would probably look at a second West Coast location outside Colorado."

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