A small but flourishing bike store in the heart of St Kilda has become Australia’s latest Giant dealer, in a rare shift by the global company away from large retailers.
Giant Australia General Manager Darren Rutherford last week confirmed the company had approached and signed Just Pedal, in what has been a particularly busy month for the store’s founder and owner, Josh Hall.
Josh has also been confirmed as Australia’s first distributor for UK wheel brand Parcours Velo, after he became a successful retailer of the brand during the past 18 months.
It will be his first role as a distributor but, after being invited to take on the role, he says it quite likely won’t be his last.
Darren said Giant was motivated to partner with Just Pedal because of Josh’s ability to win over the area’s commuter, roadie and triathlon communities.
“It’s certainly different to Giant’s general strategy. Traditionally we would go for a larger footprint store,” Darren said.
“If fact, Just Pedal could be Melbourne’s smallest bicycle store. It really is a specialty store.
“I tried to create a really community-based bike shop because that’s really what I grew up with – the type of local bike shop you go to for everything.”
“But we were highly impressed by the way Josh goes about things and the clientele he attracts – the higher-end clientele but also the commuters and e-bikes. They all trust him with their bikes.
“And St Kilda is a such an amazing area for urban, e-bike and commuting.
“We decided to get on board and potentially grow together.”
Darren said Giant would work with Josh to remodel the store early next year.
Josh opened Just Pedal in 2017 and was initially selling Jamis and Orbea, before deciding to focus on servicing and building bikes.
He had relocated from the UK in 2013 and worked for a number of bike stores, including a shop in St Kilda. Back then, there had been six bike stores in St Kilda. Now there are just two.
“When I went out on my own in 2017, I tried to create a really community-based bike shop because that’s really what I grew up with – the type of local bike shop you go to for everything,” he said.
“After selling bikes for a while, I quickly found I just wanted to service bikes and be there for everyone that walked in, whether it’s an Uber Eats rider or a roadie with a $20,000 Giant.
“I’ve employed some great staff, people keen to follow my vision, which is really just to help cyclists get to where they need to be.”
He said Giant’s offer to become a dealer was a huge compliment and surprise, because he thought the store was too small to be considered.
“I only have 78 square metres and my workshop takes half that,” Josh said.
“I was invited to an event at another Giant store and when I saw what was going on at that store, with branding in the store, it blew me away. The things Darren and Dave Ross (the manager at Giant Ormond) are doing now – the vision they have to include smaller shops and not just superstores – I really wanted to be part of that.”
Since changing his focus to bicycle servicing, the store has also done a lot of builds for Factor, Giant, Merida and BMC.
He also has an arrangement with Melbourne’s Jetnikoff Bicycle Co. to sell its Wondercross titanium gravel bikes.
Josh said he plans to continue with Wondercross, as well as Jamis, Fuji, Norco, Merida and Orbea. However, he is looking forward to having a strong Giant presence in his store.
“We are a big seller of Kask helmets, Koo sunnies, TriFit athletic clothing and a lot of Wahoo,” he said.
“I feel we’ve really found our niche recently.”
Just Pedal received a boost when a neighbouring shop closed down and one of Josh’s friends moved his Davey Black Sports Performance business into the premises.
“Since he’s been there, it’s been fantastic. I’ve tapped into many of his athletes and a lot of other triathlon groups have locked us in as their main mechanic and supplier of wheels etcetera,” Josh said.
Josh’s knack for networking also led him to sign up as the Parcours distributor.
An employee at his store, Pat Legge, is also a triathlon coach and one of his pro athletes, Grace Thek, has been using Parcours.
Josh contacted them to say he’d like to start selling their wheels in the store and he sold 30 wheel sets in 18 months.
“The Strade wheelsets go like hotcakes with the roadies on Beach Road,” he said.
“You have some beautiful wheels in that higher price bracket, like Cadex, Envie and Zipp. But there are also great brands like Parcours and Hunt that are selling wheels in the $2,000 to $3,000 price bracket, which is achievable for a lot more people than $7,000.
“I just wanted to have the best brands in my store and now I’ve signed a two-year deal to be the Parcours distributor in Australia.”
Parcours was established in 2013 and now focuses exclusively on carbon wheels for road and gravel.