Seeing opportunity, bike manufacturers pedal into Park City
June 26, 2015
As Lance Camisasca tells it, it’s sort of a David versus Goliath story.
And if that’s true, he’s providing the stone.
Camisasca is a founder and organizer of the Bike PressCamp event, which was held for this sixth time in Park City this week. The event, he said, lets small or midsize manufacturers of bicycle equipment compete against large, established companies for media attention that can play a vital role in a company’s success.
"The larger brands tend to commandeer attention," he said. "They snap their fingers and the media comes running. But if you’re an up-and-coming, smaller brand that has a great story to tell, it’s not effective to go and do what the big boys do."
Enter the Bike PressCamp, which also holds a winter show in California. It brings together media from throughout the country who report on the bicycle industry with about 25 small or midsize bike equipment manufacturers. It gives each company an equal chance to show off their products, and hopefully, earn some sought-after press.
The media loves it, too, Camisasca said, because reporters can walk away from the five-day event with as many as 25 stories. And the companies that participate often help set the conversation for the cycling industry.
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"If you’re competing against all these big companies," he said, "you’ve got to be pretty darn innovative and you’ve got to have something to say. We’ve had a number of those types of brands here over the years."
What Camisasca didn’t expect when the event first began, though, was that some bigger companies, such as Cannondale Bicycle Corp. and GT Bicycles, wanted to participate, too. While there was initially a worry they’d try to elbow out the smaller companies, they’ve demonstrated they’re simply interested in helping the cycling industry grow.
"We didn’t want them to overwhelm the small brands," Camisasca said. "But the way the expo is structured, everybody gets equal time with the editors and the same networking opportunities. So the playing field is pretty darn level."
The Bike PressCamp has attracted so many eager participants that Camisasca plans to hold it in Park City for the long-term. In fact, he’s expanding his involvement in town. Next year, there will be a similar event for outdoor retailers called Outdoor PressCamp that will run the same week as the bike camp.
"I don’t really see a reason to leave," he said. "After every event, we do a survey and talk to all of our brands and discuss different locations and options, and no one has ever expressed any desire to leave. I can’t say forever, but it’s hard to get bored with Park City."