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North Bay Business Journal

Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 1:17 pm

Mike’s Bikes to expand HQ in Novato move

Greater collaboration, room for growth behind move, CEO says

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    Ken Martin, chief executive officer and owner of Mike's Bikes

    “It’s a big size upgrade. But in the broader sense, it’s a reflection of our broader growth in the last three to five years,” said owner and CEO Ken Martin. (image from MikesBikes.com)

    NOVATO — San Rafael-based bicycle retail chain Mike’s Bikes plans to expand its headquarters and distribution center in a move to a 28,000-square-foot building in Novato, allowing further collaboration between departments and room to grow for the 16-year-old company.

    The move to a warehouse and office space at 55 Leveroni Ct. will consolidate what had been three separate San Rafael locations and grow square footage by nearly 50 percent, according to Ken Martin, chief executive officer. About 40 employees will move to the new location. Staff across all locations is more than 250.

    “It’s a big size upgrade,” Mr. Martin said. “But in the broader sense, it’s a reflection of our broader growth in the last three to five years.”

    Mr. Martin co-founded the current Mike’s Bikes (415-454-3747, mikesbikes.com) in 1998, purchasing the nearly 50-year-old brand and its two shops from Dave Kaplan. The company today has 11 retail stores in the Bay Area and Sacramento. The profile of the name has increased through widespread sponsorship of cycling events, high-level amateur racing and a charitable arm that has resulted in about 11,000 bicycles being donated to impoverished communities in Southern Africa, he said.

    Online sales have played a part in a 10-fold increase in revenue over 16 years, but the majority of the company’s operations are driven by brick-and-mortar interactions with customers, Mr. Martin said.

    “We are face-to-face retail guys,” he said, noting that an upcoming Mike’s Bikes smartphone application is still meant to support customer engagement.

    The new facility will allow closer collaboration between staff, though there is much work to come in “dialing-in” the operation, Mr. Martin said. Much of that move will occur between March and April. The San Rafael store will remain in operation.

    Longer-term prospects include the possibility of expansion into new markets, yet the company continues to follow an organic-growth strategy in adding to its footprint, Mr. Martin said.

    He also acknowledged it was a difficult decision to leave the community where the brand first launched in the 1960s, but remaining in Marin County was a priority.

    “I felt it was worth a premium,” he said. “The cycling here is some of the best in the world.”

    In the seven-year lease deal for the Novato space, Steven Leonard of Cassidy Turley represented the landlord, Condiotti Enterprises, and Peter Gettner of HL Commercial Real Estate represented the company.

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