Inside Four Specialized Stores
Over recent years I’ve visited many Specialized stores, both within Australia and across the USA. I’ve also visited Specialized’s corporate headquarters in Morgan Hill, California.
Regardless of where they’re located, all of these premises seem to have these things in common:
- They make dramatic use of photographic imagery, especially huge, wall spanning posters and segmented photo boards.
- They are super disciplined and consistent in their use of colour, slogans and branding, especially where their trademark lightning bolt red Specialized ‘S’ is concerned.
- They like to tell their story in detail, both of products and of their company history, using text heavy, but carefully written, easy to read signage.
- They like to have a cycle fitting section in each store with a professional, medical room feel, with framed diplomas prominent on the walls and anatomical models of body parts.
- The overall standard of presentation, both inside and out including store locations, street ‘presence’, floor and product layout, lighting, shop fittings and signage, is second to none in the bicycle industry.
In this article we’ll look at just four stores, two each in Sydney and Melbourne, to show examples of these features.
Of course, Specialized are not the only ones with these ideas in the Australian bicycle market. Both Giant and Avanti to name two of several other brands, have been investing heavily in concept stores and professional fit-outs that follow a very disciplined and carefully conceived corporate template.
Plenty of dealers have strong opinions about what is the best way to go for their store. Individual store branding or part of a corporate group? Single brand concept store or multiple brands? As always, we’d love to see your comments, which you can make at the bottom of this article.
Finally, I’d like to thank all store owners and managers for allowing me to photograph their stores. In all cases the photos were deliberately taken during a normal trading day ‘as is’ with no pre warning or tidying up done.
I’m only running a fraction of all the shots I took, trying to emphasise the unique features of each store. It’s certainly not intended as a ‘beauty pageant’ saying that any store is better than any other. The stores are listed in alphabetical order.
J. Beasley Cycles has been operating since 1919, but only in its current premises since 1930—a mere 82 years.
It’s currently owned and operated by John and Vicki Beasley who are the third generation of Beasley’s to run the store. All three generations have been highly successful racing cyclists, with an historic array of trophies, ribbons, jerseys and framed photographs on display as testament to their successes.
In fact Beasley’s is a ‘must visit’ for any cycling history buff.
Beasley Cycles staff include mechanic former track cycling World Sprint Champion Gary Neiwand and mechanic-come-local-institution Womble, who just like Pele and Madonna, needs only one name.
The store is in the heart of historic Footscray, which was traditionally an inner western working class suburb of Melbourne. Over recent years Footscray has undergone urban renewal and now is home to people from a wide range of incomes and ethnic groups.
Beasley Cycles is classified on Specialized’s website as an ‘Elite Shop’. According to the Beasleys, they are free to stock other bike brands, but have decided to go 100% Specialized.
Cyclery Northside was founded in the 1990’s by former cyclist and retired corporate manager Tony Whiteside. The store was originally located in a smaller premises located a few blocks south on the opposite side of the Pacific Highway, but was always at the leading edge of shop presentation.
After establishing his business, Tony moved the current, higher rent location on the ground floor of a multi storey office tower in the CBD of Chatswood, an affluent urban hub about 6 kilometres north of downtown Sydney.
Initially the store occupied about half of the ground floor, gradually expanding to take over almost the entire floor, giving it a huge frontage and visibility from the busy, six lane Pacific Highway.
Tony retired in early 2008 and long time employee Peter Clayton took over the business. For many years, Cyclery Northside was an Avanti Plus store, selling both Avanti and Specialized. But when Specialized parted company with Avanti and set up Specialized Australia, Peter decided to go with Specialized rather than take on Avanti’s new global brand, Scott.
Following on from this decision, the store has been given a complete refit, inside and out, to become a Specialized Concept store.