Below are the 50 retail stores that survived, prevailed, and distinguished themselves in their service to triathletes during 2015. The top 10 among the list below will be revealed and honored at the TBI Conference banquet on Monday, January 25th, at the Marriott in Marina del Rey, California.
This was a tough year for many retailers. T3 Multisport in metro-Indianapolis closed in December, and this was a top 10 shop in 2014 and would certainly have made the list this year.
T3 Multisport is not the only former top 10 to close. Triathlon Lab said no more to its store in Santa Monica, but it is still going strong in Redondo Beach.
The list of august shops closing in recent years is significant. Oregon no longer has Bend Bike n Sport in Bend, and Northwest Multisport and Washington is without Endurance Sports NW.
Bob Duncan is a fixture in Ohio but his Go Fast Multisport is gone, this after his first go-round with Wheelie Fun.
Faster in metro Phoenix closed its retail store and this follows Triple Sports closing, also in Phoenix. Tri360 in Arlington, VA called it quits. Two Wheel Tango in Ann Arbor left us. Knobbies and Slicks in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area closed.
TrySports got several stores going in North Carolina but has since retreated back to one. Locomotion in Winter Park (metro Orlando) has been a triathlon mainstay since the 1980s, but is no more. Trisports.com went into and emerged from a painful restructuring.
But the news was not all grim. Where triathlon fixtures like Two Wheel Tango used to be, Fraser Bicycles and The Tri Shop have expanded or risen up. Inside Out Sports prevails not just at its flagship store in Cary, NC, but also at its Raleigh and Charlotte locations. There were 4 Endurance House locations making the top 50 list and some of them (like Orange County) are new.
Today's shops catering to tri are learning how to survive and prosper in a world where domestic and overseas mail order and omni-channel has placed pressure on what used to be an insulated, provincial existence. Also, many bike shops got into tri during its run-up between 2000 and 2012. They rushed in to pan for gold, and all the surface gold is gone. Now the gold is harder to get, but there are still a lot of shops panning for it.
How will these 50 shops do in 2016? Check back a year from now.
The list below is alpha sorted. Half the scoring came from votes from vendors selling to these stores, the other half from consumers who rate them across several categories (product, product knowledge, etc.). The top 10 will be honored in order of their vote totals at the 2016 TBI Conference.
All3Sports - Atlanta, GA
Athletes Lounge - Portland, OR
Austin Tri Cyclist - Austin, TX
Belmont Wheelworks - Belmont, MA
Bicycle World and Fitness - Houston, TX
Big Shark Bicycle Company - St. Louis, MO
Bonzai Sports - Falls Church, VA
Colorado Multisport - Boulder, CO
Element Cyclesport - Chicago, IL
Elite Cycling - Leawood, KS
Endurance House - Middleton, WI
Endurance House - Zionsville, IN
Endurance House - Oceanside, CA
Endurance House - Westminster, CO
Fast Splits - Newton, MA
Final Kick Sports - Virginia Beach, VA
Fit Werx - Waitsfield, VT
Fit Werx 2 - Peabody, MA
Fitness Fanatics - Spokane, WA
Fraser Bicycle - Fraser, MI
Fusion Pro Bike Shop - Miami, FL
Gear West Bike and Triathlon - Long Lake, MN
Get a Grip Cycles - Chicago, IL
HP Bike Works - Kona, HI
Inside Out Sports - Cary, NC
Inside Out Sports - Charlotte, NC
Island Triathlon and Bike - Honolulu, HI
Landry's Bicycles - Boston, MA
Moment Cycle Sport - San Diego, CA
Northwest Tri and Bike - Kent, WA
Now Bicyle - Arden Hills, MN
Nytro Multisport - Encinitas, CA
Outspokin Bicycles - Clearwater, FL
Pacific Cycling & Triathlon - Stamford, CT
Play Tri - Dallas, TX
Podium Multisport - Atlanta, GA
R&A Cycles - Brooklyn, NY
Richardson Bike Mart - Richardson, TX
Runners High 'n Tri - Arlington Heights, IL
Running Away Multisport - Deerfield, IL
Speedy Reedy - Kenmore, WA
Sunrise Tri - West Babylon, NY
Swim Bike Run - Town and Country, MO
The Tri Shop - Canton, MI
Tri Tech Multisport - Columbus, OH
Tri Town - Boise, ID
Triathlon Lab - Redonco Beach, CA
Tribe Multisport - Scottsdale, AZ
TriBella - Denver, CO
Trisports.com - Tucson, AZ