Thursday, March 24, 2022
Bike Republic is expanding at full speed: this spring, four new shops of Colruyt Group's bicycle chain will open their doors. This rapid expansion is part of a well thought through strategy and ambition to become the reference in the field of e-bikes and smart mobility in a rapidly changing bicycle sector. In January, Bike Republic took over Wieleke in Laakdal and Diest, and this spring the expansion is stepping it up a notch. Recently Bike Republic Veurne was opened, a new shop in the Westhoek region. At the beginning of April, Bike Republic Retie and Turnhout will follow thanks to the acquisition of Fietsen Van der Veken. At the end of April, Gent West will be the biggest Bike Republic shop to date. In these turbulent times, Bike Republic continues to provide (on- and offline) proximity and accessibility of cycle shops for the Belgian cyclist: both private and professional.
When Fiets! was renamed Bike Republic in March 2021, the chain had 14 shops. Wim Teerlynck, managing director of Bike Republic, states: "Thanks to the four openings we realised this spring, the counter now stands at 24 and we continue to actively look for opportunities. There is currently a revolution going on in the bicycle sector and we want to play an important role in it, by being accessible for our customers in the whole of Belgium. Also in Brussels and Wallonia: we are currently working on a route that is becoming more and more concrete. We can certainly elaborate on that later. "
‘Compagnon de route' less than 20 minutes away
Of course, the changed context is not the only reason why Bike Republic is committed to expansion. Proximity and accessibility for the customers are fundamental for the bicycle chain. Teerlynck: "We want to be a companion on every route. Someone who customers can always count on, so that all they have to do is enjoy the ride carefree. That is why - in addition to service and craftsmanship - we also focus on accessibility. Both online and offline. A good geographical spread of our shops is therefore essential. Research has shown that customers are prepared to drive an average of 20 minutes to find a good bicycle shop. We therefore strive for a coverage that allows everyone to be in a Bike Republic shop within that time span. "
Opening of four new shops this spring
Bike Republic's expansion plans are gaining momentum this spring, with no less than four shop openings on the programme. Bike Republic Veurne was the first to open at the beginning of March, and is - next to Bike Republic Diksmuide - a second 'pitstop' for cyclists in the Westhoek. The shop shares premises with DreamLand and the range is varied, with e-bikes, speed pedelecs, cargo bikes, road bikes and mountain bikes. The opening of Bike Republic Retie and Turnhout follows on 1 April. This is a takeover of Fietsen Van der Veken, a real reference in the Kempen. The shop in Retie will be given a Bike Republic makeover in the coming weeks. The one in Turnhout is brand new and will be located on a different site than the one where Van der Veken is located today. Finally, an opening is planned in Ghent at the end of April. Bike Republic Gent West will be located at the exit of the E40 in Sint-Denijs-Westrem, next to a new Bio-Planet. It will be the third shop in Ghent - after Ghent Rooigem and Ghent Dampoort - and it will be the biggest Bike Republic shop in the country, with a small indoor test track and a wide range of city, electric and sportive bikes.
Bike Republic also caters for companies
Not only private persons are welcome in all Bike Republic shops. Companies and SME's are also welcome to buy or lease company bicycles. In order to support and relieve company managers or HR-managers from A to Z, the B2B department of Bike Republic even puts together a tailor-made bicycle plan. This way, employers can easily make the mobility of their employees more sustainable and especially more efficient. That is important in times of sky-high fuel prices.
Bike Academy Grimbergen: training centre for colleagues
Naturally, the rapid expansion poses challenges for the company, also in terms of HR. General Manager Wim Teerlynck: "Opening many shops in a short time requires a lot of flexibility from all employees. We are therefore constantly looking for experienced and passionate salespeople and technicians to man our new and existing stores. In our Bike Academy in Grimbergen, we train new colleagues ourselves and suppliers provide training and refresher courses. This way we keep investing in craftsmanship and we make sure we can offer every customer top service, regardless of the shop he or she visits."
Bike Republic Veurne
Vaartstraat 19 / 8630 Veurne
058 / 460 098
Bike Republic Retie
Veldenstraat 22 / 2470 Retie
014 / 37 71 40
Bike Republic Turnhout
Parklaan 38 unit 1 b / 2300 Turnhout
014 / 75 08 33
Bike Republic Ghent West
Kortrijksesteenweg 1078 / 9000 Ghent
092 / 470 471