Business

Financial woes spell the end for this Boise bicycle shop. Store-closing sale underway

Customer Solomon Lee, Boise, who was looking for a good road bike, gets assistance at Performance Bicycle during the grand opening of the store in 2011. The store will close soon.
Customer Solomon Lee, Boise, who was looking for a good road bike, gets assistance at Performance Bicycle during the grand opening of the store in 2011. The store will close soon. doswald@idahostatesman.com

The financial failure of one of the nation’s largest bicycle retailers will cause the shutdown of Performance Bicycle’s 102 stores, including its Boise shop in the Franklin Towne Plaza.

A banner draped across the top of the store at 8587 W. Franklin Road announces it will be closing. Employees would not say how long the store would continue to operate. They referred a reporter to the company’s corporate office in Chapel Hill, N.C., where calls Monday went unanswered.

A store-closing sale is underway. Gordon Brothers Retail Partners of Boston is carrying out the liquidation sale in Boise and at Performance Bicycle’s other stores. In a news release, Gordon Brothers said items would be sold for “up to 40 percent off” regular prices.

Companies hired to run liquidation sales generally aim to maximize revenue from the closing sales.

In a letter to customers online, Performance said all sales are final, no trade-ins will be accepted, no bikes would be assembled in-store, and the company’s lifetime free adjustments no longer will be offered.

Performance’s closing comes as the problems facing big brick-and-mortar retailers persist. Sears closed its Boise Towne Square mall store on Sunday. The Shopko at Fairview Avenue and Milwaukee Street in Boise is going out of business, too.

The company opened its Boise store to much fanfare in 2011. The company began in 1981 as an exclusive online seller. It operates stores in 20 states.

Two years ago, Advanced Sports International, the Philadelphia-based parent company of Fuji Bikes and several other brands, bought Performance Bicycle. At the time, Advanced Sports CEO Patrick Cunnane said Performance Bicycle was Fuji’s largest customer and combining the two companies was a “logical strategic move,” reported The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Raleigh is 50 miles from Chapel Hill, where Performance is based.)

At the time, Performance Bicycle had revenues between $275 million and $280 million, according to estimates from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, a trade publication. In a November bankruptcy filing, Advanced Sports reported debts of $100 million.

Performance Bicycle has seen sales decline for six years, Cunnane told Bicycle Retailer. It turns out the company was heavily in debt to Advanced Sports at the time of the sale, which Cunnane now says took place to prevent Advanced Sports from becoming insolvent.

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Signs announce a store-closing sale at Performance Bicycle in the Franklin Towne Plaza in Boise. Financial problems have caused the North Carolina company to file for bankruptcy and to shut down its 102 stores in 20 states. The Boise store is the only one in Idaho. John Sowell jsowell@idahostatesman.com

The owners of other shops say business has been steadily increasing over the last few years.

Bicycling magazine last year named Boise the 21st best bicycling city in the nation. It beat New Orleans (22nd), Philadelphia (26th), Colorado Springs (28th), Indianapolis (30th) and Atlanta (42nd).

Bicycle manufacturer Trek opened a store early last year at 1401 N. Milwaukee St. And by summer, Eagle retailer Reed Cycle plans to open a Boise store at 2340 N. Bogus Basin Road.

Bill Reed, who owns Reed Cycle with his wife, Tami, said they sell a lot of bicycles priced under $1,000 as well as higher-end bikes.

“The bike business has been solid,” said Reed, who has operated his shop at 238 E. State St. for 19 years. “After the recession, a lot of people shied away from the motor stuff and decided they could go out and buy kayaks and paddleboards and bicycles and go have good family recreation.”

Mike Cooley, co-owner of George’s Cycles, which has stores at 312 S. 3rd St. and 5515 W. State St., said his company is coming off a strong year. He said business has been helped by the influx of new residents moving to the Treasure Valley.

“My assumption is that a good percentage of the folks who are moving here are coming for the amenities the area has to offer,” Cooley said. “They’re gravitating here and buying up homes and properties in areas where there’s easy access to the trail system and the Greenbelt, Bogus Basin, or the hills to go camping.”

Reporter John Sowell has worked for the Statesman since 2013. He covers business and growth issues. He grew up in Emmett and graduated from the University of Oregon.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.
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