Shimano and Pearl Izumi held a grand opening this past Friday for their new 3,000 sq m (32,000 sq ft) 'Education Center' in Boulder, Colorado. Located just a few minutes from Pearl Izumi's Louisville headquarters, the by-appointment-only facility will serve as a one-stop destination to view their full range of products as well as a base camp for demos, clinics and other events.
Shimano and Pearl Izumi – the former bought the latter in 2008 – told BikeRadarthat the center will serve multiple purposes: regional sales reps will be able to show prospective customers the full product range in one convenient location, tech reps will be able to hold clinics for shops, and the spacious facility will also host social events such as team nights for sponsored clubs.
"Seeing all of the Shimano and PRO product in one place enables me to sell more of it simply by virtue of the buyers being able to touch the items," said territory sales rep Beth Leibo. "I can illustrate the account’s Shimano, PRO and Pearl Izumi orders on the showroom wall, before it hits their sales floor, [which] helps me assess whether they have any holes in their orders. When pre-booking future orders, I can also design a suggested order, place it on the wall [and then] edit/add/create a better and more complete story specifically for each independent retailer."
The new Education Center will serve multiple purposes, not the least of which is a showcase for the full range of Shimano, PRO and Pearl Izumi products .A fleet of demo bikes is on hand so that dealers and other invited attendees can try out new kit first-hand
According to Leibo, building such a showcase inside Pearl Izumi's corporate headquarters would have been a nice idea but space constraints made it impractical. Moreover, the showroom's location right across the street from Boulder's Valmont Bike Park makes it a prime starting point for on-trail demos. Not surprisingly, then, the facility is equipped with a fleet of bikes from Yeti, Cannondale, Specialized, Lynskey and others.
"The corporate headquarters is an exciting place to visit but it's rather small to create an adequate area for the entire Shimano, PRO and Pearl Izumi stories," she said. "The Shimano wheels take up a 20ft wall by themselves."
"The space first and foremost is going to be utilized for showing new product to dealers but the more important piece is sharing and creating our culture with the community," said Sam Johnson, Shimano's mountain states technical representative, who's already holding roughly one tech clinic per week there. "Having this space will help in creating an environment in which the shop employee can not only learn how to work on Shimano products; it also will teach them how to speak to the consumers and their needs."
All of Shimano's road and mountain bike wheels are neatly displayed at one end of the facility
Currently, the Boulder location is the only one of its kind for Shimano and Pearl Izumi but more may open nationwide depending on the success of the experiment. The two brands would have to figure out the particulars surrounding cost and ownership, however – the Boulder center is wholly corporate owned while satellite locations would perhaps be owned and operated by local entities.