CIBRA Summit 2016 Report, Photos + Interviews with Caps-Westwood and Norco’s John Williams
by Laura Robinson
October 27, 2016 (Toronto, ON) – This year’s Canadian Independent Bicycle Retailers Association (CIBRA) summit, October 24-25, was a hit for the over 90 bike store attendees. CIBRA President, Kevin Senior, owner of Calgary’s Bow Cycle, chaired the Toronto event, which featured speakers from outside cycling’s sub-culture, providing a more objective voice to the passionate lovers of bikes present. Hence the summit name: “Rethink and Results.”
“In addition to our dealer and supplier panel, we have secured a selection of speakers that will encourage us all to rethink and refocus how we operate our businesses,” said Senior in advance of the summit. The October 24-25 program kicked off with Doug Norris, senior vice-president of the market research company Environics Analytics, who described the new consumer, including millennials and why dealers and suppliers need to be engaged with them.
Norris was followed by the annual Dealer Panel made up of Pete Lilly of Sweet Pete’s in Toronto, Pierre Lafrerriere from Sport Olympe in Quebec, Claude Bernier, Cycles Performance of Quebec and Steven Hurdle of Goldstream Ave Bicycles.
Bob Phibbs, known as the Retail Doctor, gave very popular sessions on topics such as getting back to basics, social media and staff sales training, while motivational speaker Alan Malory took members through his recent journey of climbing Mount Everest with his family.
“We loved the Bike Doctor and so many other sesssions,” said Kelly Hobbis and her husband Glenn from Caps-Westwood in B.C. “These summits are a great learning tool with lots of good tips on employees, the internet, your service centre – really good ideas – we’re so happy we came.”
The nuts and bolts of risk management were well addressed by Joanne Taylor, president of Pinch HR, who spoke about the obligations an employer and small business owner has to their staff and to labour laws and codes, and Sean Sportun, director of loss prevention for Mac’s Convenience Stores, who outlined the basics of ensuring against theft-both merchandise and electronic.
Bob Verway, president of Owasco VW, Audi and RV, focused his talk on “Your Service Centre Is Valuable, Why Are You Giving It Away?” which addressed, in part, the practice of free tune-ups and lifetime warranties so many stores feel compelled to provide.
Bike Shop Girl blogger, consultant and long-time mechanic and cyclist Arleigh Jenkins of Denver, Colorado addressed the 80% of Canadians who don’t enter bike shops and how retailers could attract the non-cyclists and beginner cyclists. Top sponsors were OGC, Live to Play and Lambert, while Bosch, Environics,, Raleigh, Denvinci, Garneau, Scott, Shimano, Thule and Pedal were also involved. Much food for thought for all bike shops.
“What a great gathering and opportunity to network,” commented John Williams, President and CEO of Norco Bicycles and LTP Sports. “I just wish there more retailers here – when do we have such opportunities to meet and try to move the industry ahead as a whole. With such great speakers and topics no matter how much experience is in the room we all come away with new tips, ideas and inspiration.”
On the final day, the Honourable Glen Murray, MPP and Minister of Environment of Ontario, who arrived with helmet in hand, spoke of the government’s interest and willingness for initiatives and solutions from the industry. “Give us a plan with the numbers to back it up and an execution mechanism and we’re ready to give it serious consideration – the doors ar open and your industry is part of the solution for many issues,” said Murray, the first to hold this office established in 1904 that rides to and from work.