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CSL Sports Ltd. acquires Vancouver retailer Bicicletta

Published October 3, 2023

VANCOUVER (BRAIN) — A trio of entrepreneurs and longtime cyclists here have acquired all assets of retailer Bicicletta, which filed for creditor protection in June after closing its retail store.

Alex Conconi, Malcolm Steenburgh, and Taylor Little make up CSL Sports Ltd. and formed to save their favorite bike shop. They will keep the Bicicletta name and domain. All three are members of CSL's Board of Directors, and Steenburgh will serve as interim-CEO with Conconi serving as chairman of the board. A search for a full-time CEO is underway.

CSL also is backed by former Canadian pro cyclists Ryan Anderson and Rob Britton, as well as Jared Boudreau, a mainstay in the Canadian cycling industry, Outway socks CEO Rob Fraser, and longtime cyclist and former MEC Controller Caroline Kenning.

Bicicletta's employees have been retained, and Bicicletta's former owners have been retained on transition agreements to help guide CSL with resurrecting the business, including previous CEO Graham Fox. The retailer has continued to operate its website and fulfillment center.

"We aim to make Bicicletta the most welcoming and helpful experience for aspirational and competitive cyclists in all of Canada, both in person and online," Steenburgh said. "Knowing that Bicicletta has already served over 100,000 guests in the past three years, our vision is to continue to serve that community whether that be outfitting them for road, gravel, or mountain biking. We wish to move beyond the stereotype that only hardcore racers can appreciate a premium experience and seek to open our doors to the larger community of passionate cyclists who engage with the sport in their own way."

The new owners have signed an offer to lease a new retail location in East Vancouver with a full-service shop, and plan to offer a revamped brand catalog.

"It was clear to us that Bicicletta was an iconic mainstay in the community, and thanks to a successful digital transition during the pandemic, it had built a national following," Conconi said. "Unfortunately, scaling the business coupled with an industry slowdown led to the previous ownership filing for creditor protection. We believe that together we can restore the brand's heritage and are looking forward to the challenge."

Steenburgh was a founder of Point Grey Research, which develops advanced visible imaging cameras and solutions that are used in industrial automation, military and defense products, and advanced mapping systems. Point Grey Research was sold to FLIR Systems Inc. in 2016. He helped Bicicletta build out its website in 2018.

Conconi is founder and executive chairman of Lendesk Technologies Ltd., a digital mortgage origination platform that was acquired by Rock Holdings Ltd. — parent company of Rocket Mortgage — in 2019. He is also the founding partner of Conconi Growth Partners Ltd., a Vancouver based family office and investment firm. In addition to CSL Sports Ltd., he's on the board of directors for the Conconi Family Foundation, and Neighbourhood Holdings.

Little is the CEO of Neighbourhood Holdings, an alternative lender based in Vancouver. He is also a partner in Conconi Growth Partners. In addition to CSL Sports Ltd., he's on the board of directors for 7mesh Industries Inc., the Conconi Family Foundation, and was previously on the board of directors for Cycling BC.

On June 28, FTI Consulting, Bicicletta's Vancouver-based trustee, filed the notice and listed creditors with claims of CAN$250 or more. Debts were listed at CAN$6,360,490.61 ($4.8 million). About 20% of Bicicletta's workforce was laid off when the bankruptcy was announced.

From left, Taylor Little, Alex Conconi, and Malcolm Steenburgh. Photo by Clayton Little

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