Experienced sporting goods retailer and wholesaler Hayden Burbidge has further stepped up as a prominent player in WA’s bicycle industry, by signing as the State’s sales rep for The Electric Bicycle Co.
TEBCO is one of two brands Hayden has added to his expanding portfolio so far in 2023. The other is Queensland-based outdoor equipment company Multi Sports Imports, which he says will fit in nicely with the bike packing sector, as well as being an entry into some camping stores.
Hayden came into the bike industry with 20 years’ experience in the sporting goods sector and a commitment to independent retailers.
Faced with the increasing dominance of the sporting goods retail giants, and a perceived lack of support from global brands, he made the switch to an industry he believes will continue to have a place for independents.
“The bike industry is much more of a service industry. It’s more focused on a bespoke model,” he said.
“With sporting goods, you can buy a pair of shoes from anywhere, but if you’ve got a good local bike mechanic, customers will come to you.
“There’s a real need to have that local guy who knows the product and is skilled at fixing bikes.”
Hayden previously worked as a WA business development manager with Associated Retailers Limited, a Melbourne-based cooperative providing buying power for independent retailers such as SportsPower and Toyworld to help them compete against the biggest players.
After seven years with ARL, he returned to his home State and became the owner-operator of two sports stores south of Perth- SportsPower Mandurah and SportsPower Falcon.
“We had just moved back to WA and I was talking to a prospective store owner for SportsPower Mandurah,” he said.
“The person I was talking to said ‘if it’s such a good idea, why aren’t you doing it?’, and I thought, ‘that’s a really good question’.
“I went home and spoke with my wife and the next thing we know we were starting a store.”
They owned the two stores for around seven years but eventually saw a better future in bicycles.
“We were finding in the sports industry that was getting more and more stifled by the likes of Rebel and JD Sports. And the big brands like Nike and Adidas are not as supportive of the independents operators as I was seeing in the cycling industry,” he added.
The keen mountain biker and cross-country competitor made the switch to the bike industry in 2020 and found his feet by working with Cyclemotion’s Nathan Dyke for a year.
He then went out on his own as an independent sole trader and is now the WA sales representative for Go Easy Australia – which distributes brand including Haro, SKS, On Guard, Hollywood Racks, Dia-compe and Del Sol e-bikes – as well as Lead Out Sports (Pedros, Abbey bike tools, OruCase) and TMO Sports – Clif, Continental, Finish Line, Deuter.
“We’ve picked up a few brands over the past 12 months and we’re certainly looking to continue to grow it at a steady pace, so hopefully in the next couple of years we’ll be in a position to have our own warehousing over here.”