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Unseasonable Weather Dampens Demo Numbers

Published September 14, 2011

BOOTLEG CANYON, NV (BRAIN)--Maybe that will keep people from whining about the heat at the Outdoor Demo. (Click on title to download PDF of Show Daily 1).

Yesterday morning’s unexpected and frigid downpour capped two out-of-the-ordinary days at Interbike’s dirt and road demo. Monday was unusually mild—which in Bootleg Canyon means below 100 degrees. But on Tuesday morning, the second and more heavily attended of the two demo days, the skies opened and poured forth as lightning danced over the valley.

“This is bizarre in many ways,” said Andy Tompkins, vice president of Interbike. “I think we’ve been in that location for something like 10 years, and we’ve never had a rainy day like this before.” The downpour started at 8 a.m. and came down steadily until about 10 a.m., he said.

The most coveted schwag at the Bootleg Canyon site yesterday morning was garbage bags, as drenched retailers swapped tips about the best booths for nabbing one.

Marcee Vanore, manager of the Right Gear shop in Kannapolis, North Carolina, took her staff and cycling teammates to Starbucks. They spent more than $60 to buy coffee for all the Outdoor Demo security guards, who worked through the rain in their brightly colored ponchos.

“That’s the most I’ve ever spent at once at Starbucks, but we will be making a lot of people happy,” Vanore said.

Tompkins said the rain kept buyers away from Tuesday’s Outdoor Demo. According to preliminary figures, buyer attendance fell by 8 to 10 percent on Tuesday compared with the second day of last year’s demo. Monday’s attendance was on par with last year.
Interbike estimated 2,400 buyers attended Monday and 2,598 on Tuesday, representing 1,400 stores. The preliminary numbers don’t account for people who attended both days, Tompkins said.

Fortunately, the first day of Outdoor Demo seemed to make quite a few people happy, as Monday’s mild weather made up for Tuesday’s downpour.

“This is the best day, weather-wise, I think I’ve ever seen out here,” said Ken Cassanova of Granite Cyclery, a shop in Rocklin, California, while testing bikes Monday.

For several exhibitors such as Chris King, Outdoor Demo is their only official Interbike presence.

“We like it,” said Jeff Menand, Chris King’s global sales manager. “It’s a lot of shop employees as well as shop owners. For us, to be quite honest, shop employees are the ones selling most of the gear at retail. So, tighter we connect with them, the better we do over the next year.”

Meanwhile, retailer Jeffrey Ferris was taking it easy during Monday’s demo day. He had a good excuse: Ferris had done the Superfrog Triathlon the day before in Coronado, California, before flying to Las Vegas.

“My legs are like rubber, so testing e-bikes today is ideal,” said Ferris, whose Ferris Wheels Bike Shop is outside of Boston in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

Interbike starts today and runs through Friday.

--Doug McClellan

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Topics associated with this article: Consumer Expos and Rides

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