The owner of two Giant stores in Brisbane has revealed plans to consolidate their operations into one site and give increased focus to their prospering online sales.
Mark Turvey plans to close the Giant Strathpine within the next two months and concentrate upon his Giant Redcliff business.
Mark said the lease for the Strathpine site is coming up for renewal, which prompted them to evaluate their plans for the Strathpine store and their overall operations.
“It made me question whether I want to be here in three years’ time,” he said.
“For this location, the answer was no.
“In addition, our online selling is incredibly strong at the moment and we can do that from a much smaller premises with way less overheads.”
He said sales levels at the Strathpine store were gradually declining because of the northern Brisbane suburb’s changing demographic.
Mark took over the store following the death of his brother Kevin who, at one stage, owned three bike shops in Brisbane’s north.
In the early days of Kevin owning the store, when it traded as Strathpine Bicycle Centre, “people were moving to the area and building new houses”.
“Those houses now are 20-plus years old and rentals. The style of house owner has changed and even the shopping district is a bit more of a thoroughfare,” Mark said.
“It’s been a slow thing over at least a decade – maybe a smidgen more.
“We’re between two bigger retail destination hubs with larger marketing tools.
“We’ve got Northlakes north of us and Chermside to the south, both very large Westfields and both really pull people to them,” he said.
“Floor trade here is still really good. You have to chase business now but I really don’t see anything wrong with that.
“However, I don’t want to be on the floor here for the next three years”
Mark said he was also starting to look at their exit strategy from the industry.
“I’ll be 55 this year and when you get to a certain stage in life, you need to prep for the way out; maybe buying some premises for storage facilities to have some backend from all of this,” he said.
Strathpine Bicycle Centre has been in operation for approximately 30 years.
“I found a photo of a previous, smaller location where Kevin first operated the store, and that was in 1997 or ’98,” Mark said.
“And the store has been in its current location for around 25 years.”
It has been an institution in the Brisbane bike industry and initially stocked many brands, including Giant, Specialized, Trek, Avanti and Merida.
It then become one of Australia’s first specialist Giant stores.
“Most shop owners are at that age where you’ll see them closing in the next eight to 10 years because there isn’t a junior or a staff member … to step into them.”
Mark initially managed Kevin’s store at Kallangur site and later purchased the shop at Redcliff.
“My sister-in-law continues to own the Strathpine site and she’s been very accommodating but we’ve decided it’s a good time to close the store,” he said.
“We’re hoping to close Strathpine in late May or early June, mainly to give staff time to find other places to work.”
Mark predicted a series of store closures over the next decade.
“The problem moving forward is most shop owners are at that age where you’ll see them closing in the next eight to 10 years because there isn’t a junior or a staff member who has got whatever the stock value is of the store, to step into them,” he said.
“Plus there’s the double whammy where the big brands are stepping into that space. The Treks and Specialize are owning stores.”
He said bike retail outlets were also impacted by the lingering effects of Covid, when “people wanted to come to the stores to get their bits and pieces, but the bike shops weren’t able to access them because importers had sold out”.
That directed consumers online and many have stayed there.
Mark said in contrast to the prospects of many bricks and mortar store owners, opportunities have opened for smaller operators in online trade.
“There’s good traction with online sales because the bigger guys have been hurt by the fact they are geared up heavily for large turnovers,” he said.
“They need to have such large turnover to justify their facilities and staff levels – and problems arise when they can’t access that stock.”
“Cycle Station has shut down their online sales completely.
“The situation with those larger operators leaves an opening for guys like me.”
Mark said he has been basing his online sales on eBay, which has made a number of positive changes that have assisted his sales on the platform.
“Hopefully next year we’ll have an increased presence online, with a website and maybe other outlets,” he added.