Bike Force Clarkson’s 300m Shift for 350m2 Floorspace

Perth, WA

WA bike store Bike Force Clarkson is enjoying its shift to a much larger premises last month, in a recent succession of change for former owner Tom Austin.

The store shifted just 300m down the Key Largo Drive, from what had become a cramped 180m2 store to 350m2 premise with around 50m of window frontage and a site directly across the road from the local Bunnings.

Tom says the new location will enable the business to fulfill its ambitions for growth and to properly service an extremely diverse local market.

“We’d outgrown the old place by the time Covid was hitting. We’d owned the store for nine years and every year brought steady growth,” according to Tom, who said Covid further accelerated their growth.

Interior of bicycle store
The new location offers plenty of space for the Perth store to properly meet demand in all categories.

“You could barely move in there anymore and the stars were aligning for us to relocate, with the end of our lease.”

They opened the new location on 8th February and will give it another month to fully assess how the move has affected business, once the attraction of a new shop wears off. However, it certainly seems to have translated into increased sales.

“For example, where customers might have left the store with one accessory previously, now they’re often walking out with three or more,” Tom said.

“We haven’t really increased our number of bikes on the floor yet. But that will come as we continue to grow.”

He said that would include expanding into categories the business had to exclude from the other premises because of limited space, while serving a market that ranged from very affluent to financially stressed.

“On one side of the main road where we are, we’ve got multi-million-dollar homes that are all paid off and the kids have moved out. Then a kilometre the other way, you’ve got lots of young families, just starting up and struggling a bit financially,” he said.

“We do everything from people rolling their eyes at a $500 price tag, to people spending $10,000 on a bike.”

The challenging of serving such a wide diversity of demographics and price tags, with relatively limited floorspace, required the business to be highly selective in the categories it stocked.

“In the old store, we didn’t do gravel and we didn’t do flat-bar road because we either had to cut them out, or do everything half-arsed. Now we can do everything properly.”

Interior of bicycle store
The cluttered confines of the old Bike Force Clarkson store.

Business Sold

The relocation came only a few months after Tom and his family sold the business and he slotted into the role of store manager.

Tom and his parents, Steve and Dianne, bought the store in 2013 from previous owners Peter and Leanne Brennan.

“The store was always a 10-year plan for us and we sold in last October,” Tom said.

“My parents are moving into retirement and I’m building a house.

“I was always a little bit apprehensive about no longer being the captain of the ship, while still working on the ship, but I get on really well with (new owner) Kyle and I’m pretty well operating under the instructions of ‘if you would have done something a certain way before, do it that way again now’.

“The plan now is really just to grow the store.”

Tom has 15 years’ experience in the industry, starting with Bike Force founder Bill Gordon and his son Matt.

“I worked with Matt Gordon at his Joondalup store and when they sold that in early 2010 and shifted over to Melbourne, I made the move with them.”

Since buying his own Bike Force store, the Clarkson business has been underpinned by sales of Scott, Avanti, Malvern Star and Mondraker. The store also sells Norco and Merida.

The store’s workforce is also about to get a significant boost.

It currently has three full-time staff, after one mechanic returned to university and has cut his shop hours back to 30 hours a week. However, Bike Force Clarkson has a new full-time mechanic starting today (Friday) and on Monday will welcome another staff member 25 hours a week to focus on the business’s online presence.

“It’s bit scary adding two new staff to our small team in such quick succession, but that will definitely help us with our planned growth,” he said.

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