Business up during Crankworx – except for bike shops 


Crankworx may have been a triumph for most of Whistler, but for the bike shops it was a slower-than-usual business week.

"Typically Crankworx is pretty quiet for us on the biking side of things," said Matt Ryan of Katmandu Bike & Board."

"A lot of people are here, but they're here more for the show, they're not necessarily bikers."

He said Katmandu has typically steady business throughout the year, but once Crankworx hits town, all the same services his store provides are available through major manufacturers who set up tents in and around the village. Riders tend to take their business there instead.

"That is usually generally the case," he said. "It's not a huge season for us and we see it every year. From the biking perspective, it's more of a downturn than anything."

Jenine Bourbonnais, owner of Evolution, said she hadn't compared numbers to last year but she guessed that this was the first year sales hadn't gone up.

"Crankworx has been growing and every single year it's been going up and up. But this year, I don't think it went up from last year. I'd be very surprised."

She said the beginning of the week was slow but business picked up by the end.

"Usually it's like Christmas week for us, you know being a bike store of course, but definitely earlier in the week wasn't feeling like Christmas," she said. "But the end of the week was good."

Much of her business during the week was made up of people renting bikes and buying gear. In the past Evolution had made bike sales but those are down this year.

But it wasn't that way for all bike shops in town.

"Answer A: way better than the Olympics. Answer b: way better than the Olympics," said Scott Humby, owner of Fanatyk Co. "It's traditionally always busier for us during Crankworx."

Humby said his store, which is located close to the centre of the Crankworx festivities, had a solid week of bike rentals and accessory sales, selling helmets, pads, clothes, even a few bikes - anything the riders might need before competing.

Ryan said that most riders who come to Whistler to compete "do it renegade style," bringing their own bikes and not worrying too much about repairs. They spend "their money on partying instead."

Which is probably why bars and restaurants faired so well during Crankworx, which ran from Aug. 7 to 15. Joey Gibbons, president of the Gibbons Hospitality Group - which owns the Longhorn, Buffalo Bill's, Tapley's Pub and the Firerock Lounge - said all their businesses did really well, particularly during the final weekend.

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