This bicycle shop is located on one of the inner north’s key off road cycling routes, giving it visibility and a ready-made community. It has managed to expand its offerings into two more locations by finding products that are the perfect fit for its customers.
|Business type||Bicycle seller|
|In Moreland since||2009|
Bicycle sales and repairs
Velo Cycles sells bicycles for adults and children, stocks a wide range of accessories, and has six full-time mechanics servicing bikes in its workshop.
It opened up shop on the Capital City Trail near the corner of Nicholson and Park Streets in Carlton North (where it straddles the boundary between the City of Yarra and the City of Moreland) in 2010, and quickly found some unique ways to capture the attention of the hundreds of commuter cyclists that pass by every day.
A bike pump and sign out front encourages cyclists to stop and pump up their tyres, while an old-fashioned chalk board enables staff to communicate whatever is happening (or just on their minds), day to day. In collaboration with Moreland City Council, in 2016 it installed a bike counter which tallies the number of passing cyclists for the VicRoads database. On any given day, more than 3,500 cyclists pass by.
In 2014, it opened an electric bike shop (Velo Electric) nearby on Nicholson Street, and in 2018, it opened Brompton Junction, Australia’s only retailer of Brompton folding bikes. The company’s growth into these two niche markets reflects its own strength, and the strength of Melbourne’s urban cycling culture.
“Our electric bike fleet has probably doubled in the past five years,” says Velo’s General Manager Stuart Armstrong. “People are more interested in electric bikes, and the bikes are getting better. The technology behind the bikes has improved, and the market has grown. It used to be that you could only get electric road bikes – now you can get cargo bikes, mountain bikes, the lot.”
This year, Velo is focused on building its online identity through hashtags and social media, and on the launch a new initiative, the Velo Love Club. For every year that a customer owns a bicycle they buy through Velo, they’ll receive a free hour of mechanical love – punctures, services. They’ll have access to VIP shopping nights and other loyalty-inspiring events and activities.
Like most challenges, those faced by the team at Velo Cycles contain benefits, too.
“There’s no local bicycle manufacturing here in Australia, so all of the bikes we sell are imported. This makes the shifting nature of the Australian dollar and our global location two of our major challenges, says Stuart.
“We realised that finding products that set us aside from big box retail stores could be a real strength for us, and we’ve been really successful with Brompton,” says Stuart. “Our store was the first Brompton flagship store in the southern hemisphere, and even though we have competitors now, we still have the biggest market share.”
All images courtesy of Velo Cycles.