Industry Briefs: Crooze Electric Closes Store, ProBikeKit to Close, and More

Bundall, Queensland

Gold Coast e-mobility specialist Crooze Electric has closed its doors, with news the online side of the business has been purchased to operate out of Brisbane as a B2C P&A retailer.

Owner James Patten reportedly made the decision to the close the store rather than renew the lease.

The UK expat bought the business in May 2020, after it had previously operated for around six years as primarily an e-bike rental business.

James shifted the business to a much larger premise at Bundall and expanded the business considerably.

At the time, he was cited as an example of entrepreneurs coming from outside the industry to capitalise on the opportunities presented by e-bikes.

James has built a number of businesses, including in the haircare and cosmetics industry.

Crooze Electric’s store manager, Andrew Haddy, is returning to work with the owner of two Giant stores on the Gold Coast, at Nerang and Southport.

News on the new owners of Crooze Electric is expected soon.

ProBikeKit Axed

One of the pioneering global kingpins of online bike sales, ProBikeKit, is about to shut down, according to a report in CyclingIndustry.News.

Global e-commerce technology company The Hut Group, which purchased ProBikeKit in 2013, announced in its trading update in January it is discontinuing operations in its OnDemand division, which includes the bike retail website.

ProBikeKit was established in 1998, one year before key online retail rival Wiggle.

The Hut Group (THG) bought ProBikeKit to join the UK giant’s Group Lifestyle division, which included Myprotein and Myvitamins, when the lifestyle sector was enjoying 15% annual growth.

THG was one of the most valuable private companies in the UK in 2017, when it was valued at more than £2.5 billion.

However, the Manchester Evening News has reported the company is currently cutting around 180 jobs at its headquarters in the north-western England city.

It’s extensive list of brand purchases over the past 14 years also included RY, a haircare and cosmetics company founded by James Patten, who owned Crooze Electric until last month.

FRF Sport Rebranded

Sydney-based wholesaler FRF Sports has been rebranded as Bikebug Trade, bringing it in line with other operations managed by its founder, Frank Fortuna.

The rebrand comes just over a year since FSF Sports and another of Frank’s ventures, online retail platform Bikebug, were both purchased by another prominent Australian bike retailer with a major online presence, Pushys.

At the time, Pushys directors stated the acquisition of Bikebug was intended to accelerate their company’s expansion into the premium bike market.

The move coincided with outdoor supplies retailer Adventure Online buying a majority share of Pushys.

Then in an unexpected twist, Adventure Online announced Frank had returned from retirement to head Pushys and BikeBug as CEO.

Bikebug Trade provides a comprehensive range of products to dealers across Australia and NZ, incorporating brands distributed directly by the company including Colnago, Argon 18, Campagnolo, Fulcrum, Lake, Selle Italia and Deda Elementi.

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