Australia’s network of Giant Stores (GS) has expanded by four so far this year, with three NSW shops joining the ranks and another in Queensland.
Brisbane’s Giant Redlands Bay is set to become only the third GS to start from scratch, when it opens its doors this month. The store will be the second location for owners Matt and Ammie Wood, who also established the nation’s second brand new GS, Giant Bayside, back in 2019.
“We see a massive opportunity in the Redlands Bay area, where there’s just a little, one-man store at the moment,” Matt said.
“Utilising the Giant brand, we know it will be successful. Giant has helped us set up an awesome looking store.”
Matt, who previously worked as a Giant sales rep in Queensland for nine years, said he and Ammie “certainly have plans for more stores”.
“We definitely want to expand into certain areas in Queensland,” he added.
“Dealing with independent store owners directly means we wouldn’t move to an on-line-only model, instead continuing to pursue a hybrid approach that brings consumers into Giant-authorised stores.”
“The opportunities Giant provides us with are awesome. A lot of people know the Giant brand as one of the world’s biggest manufacturers and the warranty back-up they provide is second to none.”
Conversely, the new Giant Stores in NSW have taken a more common path. All three are major players in their respective areas and are making the transition go 100% Giant: Panthers Cycles in Penrith, Central Coast store Cycology and southern Sydney store Sutton Cyclery.
In addition, Queensland store Giant Nerang has expanded to a second location in July by purchasing the long-standing Giant Gold Coast in Southport.
The new additions takes the total of Giant Stores in Australia to 65, and Giant Australia General Manager Darren Rutherford said the growing network gives the company greater flexibility so its retail platform can move with the market.
“Dealing with independent store owners directly means we wouldn’t move to an on-line-only model, instead continuing to pursue a hybrid approach that brings consumers into Giant-authorised stores, as well as chasing on-line opportunities,” Darren said.
“Over the last two to three years, we have been focused on offering premium services to our existing dealer base and ensuring the network remains strong.
“As we continue to emerge from the pandemic and supply normalises, then we will access new opportunities to expand the network.”
Darren said Panthers Cycles was a foundation dealer when Giant Australia was launched in the early 1990s and made the conversion to Giant Penrith in July, while the well-known Cycology brand made the switch to Giant Tuggerah, also last month.
Sutton Cycles owner Chris ‘CJ’ Sutton said product supply was a major motivator in his decision to become a Giant Store.
His business was converted to Giant Ramsgate in July, after Sutton Cycles had previously evolved from a southern Sydney bicycle institution, Bates Bikes, in late 2020. CJ, a former ProTour road cyclist with stage victories in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, had become a joint manager of Bates Bikes in 2018.
When Chris’s uncle, Phill, closed Bates Bikes in 2020, ending the store’s 101-year history, Chris created Sutton Cycles at the same location in Ramsgate.
He said Giant’s consistent supply of product during the pandemic, when other brands become impossible to source, made the decision to switch to a Giant Store a ‘no brainer’.
“I’ve only been a Giant dealer since I opened Sutton Cyclery and they were the only company that could supply bikes for the past two years,” he said.
“They were looking after all their stores and making sure they were getting a flow of bikes each week. They didn’t want anyone to shut because they couldn’t get bikes.”
Chris has ambitions to open one or two more stores, ideally including one in Sutherland Shire where he was born and raised.
Darren said Giant is also boosting its presence in WA, sparked by rival Trek purchasing the State’s largest specialist bicycle retailer, The Bicycle Entrepreneur (TBE) in May last year. The TBE purchase included six stores, an online outlet, and a central warehouse that included a mechanical servicing department.
“It gave us a great opportunity to look at that territory with fresh eyes,” Darren explained.
He said Giant rebounded quickly and by mid-2021 a Giant Osborne Park has been opened in WA by Jay Barron with “immediate success”.
“Dan from Morley Cycles opened Giant Clairmont in August and we’re working with another GS store owner on a second location opening in March 2023,” Darren added.
“Before launching the GS program, we put a lot of time into our retail strategy and what it meant not only for our consumers but for the stores as well. We want to make sure dealers can continue to strive and grow into the future.
“When a dealer becomes a Giant Store, they go from having to compete on their own to having a voice in a truly national network.
“GS is a long-term project, so we’re always in open dialogue with our dealers.
“We approach select stores to join the GS program based on benefits we think the program can contribute to their existing business.
“Similarly, a number of stores have approached us to expand their reach and unlock additional potential for their business.”
Darren said while the Giant Group had experienced some of the supply issues pain suffered throughout the industry in recent times, the challenges have been eased partially by the fact the company owns its factories in multiple countries.
“This has given us an edge in getting our hands on stock,” he explained.
“The data the factories are able to provide allows us to keep our dealers in the loop and work with them to manage consumers’ expectations. We see this as key.
“We are now seeing a consistent flow of stock but it is still far from perfect. We continue to ensure stores are allocated stock fairly at a national level so they can trade confidently.
“We’re not out of the woods yet but we believe it will continue to improve.”