A new bicycle and accessories showroom in Melbourne will be opened next month by Tom Sherlock – his latest venture in a bike industry career spanning almost half a century.
Tom is preparing to open the Bicycle Depot showroom in Epping, to accompany his online sales operations of the same name, and with plans to substantially increase his product line.
The Victorian-based operator was at Eurobike last month to meet with his existing suppliers but also with an eye to boost his range from around 400 line items to close to 2,500.
In the eight years since Tom launched his Bicycle Depot website, he has focused on niche market products such as Italian brand bike trailers and baby seats, German BMX bikes, locks and tyres.
But he is also looking to expand into e-bikes in his 135 square metres of floorspace in the leased Epping outlet.
Tom has opted for a reasonably modest-sized retail premises on the busy Cooper Street, to help keep his rent down, but has accompanied it with a 465 square metre warehouse a five-minute drive away in Campbellfield.
Quality Bicycle Repairs Purchase
He recently purchased all the stock, equipment and fittings from another Victorian industry stalwart, Simon Jamison, who closed down the Quality Bicycle Repairs business he’s operated in Surrey Hills for 13 years.
Tom said he had been patiently looking for a bike store to buy as his bricks and mortar outlet, and while the Surrey Hills site didn’t appeal as a location, Simon’s move into retirement was a good opportunity for Tom to fit out and help stock both the Epping showroom and the warehouse.
“Simon had a great workshop and we will set up that equipment at the warehouse,” he said.
“Bikes brought into the Epping showroom for servicing will be taken to the warehouse, or customers will have the option to go straight to Campellfield.
“We’ll have one person located at the warehouse to deal with customers.”
Simon will be contracted to the Bicycle Depot as a part-time consultant to assist with bike servicing and maintenance, as well as providing technical advice for customers.
Simon established Victoria’s first MTB specialist store, before owning a number of bike retail and servicing businesses, and Tom said he was keen to utilise that mountain of experience.
While Tom has been preparing for the opening of the new store, including attending Eurobike to plan a number of additions to his product line, he says he has never seen the Australian and global bike industry face such a difficult period.
Tom has been in the bike industry since 1976, when he left school and started with Malvern Star, and believes the sector will take another two years to fully recover from its current sales downturn and inventory bottleneck.
Too Many Wholesalers
“I believe there will be cleansing of the industry in Australia, with some opportunities for some mergers and consolidation,” he said.
“I personally think there’s too many wholesalers at the moment.”
After a break from the industry for several years, he returned 12 years ago with his wholesale business General Accessories (GENACS). Then seven years ago, he began the Bicycle Depot website, to operate in parallel with the wholesale operation.
He says by sourcing product direct from the manufacturers, he can achieve a margin that enables his predominantly European product line to be competitive with Asian alternatives.