A mile-high move
October 11, 2016
The Quality Bicycle Products West team (Image: Quality Bicycle Products)
It’s quite a match: one of the most prominent suppliers in the bicycle industry and a state well-known for bike-friendliness. Like a marriage that is meant to be, the grand opening of Quality Bicycle Products’ (QBP) new Denver region distribution center on September 15 made it official.
“By moving to Colorado, we repositioned our existing network to support one- or two-day delivery at 98 percent,” says Kim Brown, director of distribution at QBP. In particular, the Denver location solves the challenge of providing faster service to the south central United States, which includes Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Kansas, and Oklahoma, which it can now do in two days rather than three. The move from Odgen, Utah caps a decade-long expansion plan to establish a comprehensive distribution network to serve QBP’s 5,000 customers in the United States, which in just the last two years also included new centers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Reno, Nevada. “Colorado has done a number of things to build their bicycle culture,” Brown says. “We are excited to be located here and are looking forward to helping with this effort.”
The choice of location was driven both by economics and QBP’s commitment to minimize its carbon footprint. Denver’s access to ground freight is not only a money-saver, it’s a carbon-saver: ground shipping leaves a carbon footprint only one-tenth the size of air shipping.
Colorado's Bike Czar, Ken Gart and Kim Brown, QBP's director of distribution
QBP’s plans have long included an expansion to make Denver the final hub in its distribution network, a choice that should help propel Colorado toward Governor John Hickenlooper’s $100 million goal to make it “the best state to ride a bike.” And as Colorado’s outdoor industry expands, that boosts other businesses and strengthens communities by bringing new jobs. “QBP is a critical and foundational company in the U.S. bicycle industry and consistently one of the most respected,” says Ken Gart, Colorado’s official Bike Czar. “Governor Hickenlooper has made a commitment to make Colorado the most bicycle friendly State in the United States and is passionate about the outdoors and in building economic vitality in the outdoor business. What a perfect match to have QBP open their new distribution center in Colorado. As the volunteer Bike Czar for our Governor I am thrilled to welcome QBP to Colorado!”
Everywhere QBP operates, it advocates, and that, too, is bound to yield better bicycling for Colorado. Statewide projects include supporting the development of mountain bike trails and Colorado’s high school mountain bike league. QBP Advocacy Director Gary Sjoquist — a founder of PeopleForBikes — aims to connect QBP with a wide spectrum of efforts, including turning attention to lesser-known areas. “We look to where we can have a big impact in a small space,” he says, which informed the decision to focus on the small town of Lamar, Colorado. With almost no bicycling infrastructure in a state that’s well-known for it, Lamar is barely on the bicycling map. “An aspect of Lamar that intrigued us was it’s a place there was no bike shop and no place to work on bikes,” Sjoquist says. QBP will help change that by supporting the development of a community bike shop—“a trademark of ours” Sjoquist says—as well as a bike park.
Last but far from least, Colorado’s large bike industry is a prime beneficiary of the move: the 65,000 square-foot facility means QBP can now provide same-day or one-day delivery to its Colorado customers, positioning the state as an even more attractive place for bike-based businesses. “The bike industry ecosystem in Colorado continues to grow,” says Luis Benitez, director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office. “Having QBP as an integral part of that infrastructure highlights the innovation and inspiration that headquartering in Colorado provides.”
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