President and CEO of USA Cycling trying to become a Parkite while owning local bike shop
When Rob DeMartini stepped down as the president and CEO of New Balance on Dec. 31, the only thing he knew for certain was that he and his wife were going to start their next journey in Park City.
“As the kids grew up and left the house, my wife and I found ourselves spending more and more time there,” DeMartini said. “I wanted to make the shift and really make this family a part of the community. … We wanted to be contributing members of this special community as opposed to be vacation people who are only here sometimes.”
One of the best ways to become part of the Park City community, he felt, was to own a business that could help the local economy.
“I want to give back to the community by making jobs for them,” DeMartini said.
An avid weekend cyclist riding between 40-100 miles per weekend, DeMartini stumbled upon a local bike shop for sale.
Andre Shoumatoff, its owner, saw it as a Hail Mary. Park City Bike Demos, located at 1500 Kearns Blvd in which Andre co-owned and created in 2015, was going out of business last fall. As a last ditch effort, he decided to take out a “for sale” ad in KSL Classifieds.
“It was brutal, absolutely brutal for me and everyone who was associated with this place. … By far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” Shoumatoff said. “We really felt like we were just one more year away from being successful so having to shut it down, it still hurts.”
But for Shoumatoff and the shop, the came in the form of a text message from DeMartini, who at the time was still the head of one of the top shoe companies in the country.
DeMartini and Shoumatoff brokered a deal, and Park City Bike Demos had new ownership.
“I think Andre had a pretty good idea, he just ran out of steam to not quite make it the mark they were hoping,” DeMartini said. “I see this market as one that’s going to keep growing because there’s room for a shop that focuses on locals and tries to provide great service. … We don’t care what level anyone is at, just come on in and we’ll put you on the bike and the right trail so you have an amazing experience.”
But for DeMartini, his retirement plan that featured owning and working in a bike shop came to a quick end.
Although he would still own the shop, DeMartini took another position: President and CEO of USA Cycling.
His jump from New Balance to local bike shop owner to USA Cycling all came within a matter of three months, something he never expected at the beginning of the year.
USAC (USA Cycling) reached out to DeMartini, who at the time was finishing up with New Balance and had just purchased the bike shop. After fielding the phone call asking for recommendations for who should be the next CEO of USAC, DeMartini suggested himself.
“It definitely wasn’t a plan, it just fell in my lap but I knew after 12 years of running a multi-billion dollar international company that I wanted to try something different,” DeMartini said. “This is super different because it’s much smaller but much more specialized. … I’m now dealing with a lot of intricacy of the sport but more importantly I have great respect for what these top athletes do.”
After a month of talks and negotiations, DeMartini was named president and began serving in the beginning of March. He spent January and February skiing and working at the shop but with the new position, everything else was put on the backburner.
“I thought I would be here at the shop a lot more and in Park City in general, but I actually work out of Colorado Springs, so I’m still commuting,” DeMartini said. “I did think I would be in the shop more, but luckily Andre is. … And we have a really good staff as well.”
For Shoumatoff, working with DeMartini was an easy decision after they spoke. Despite higher monetary offers, Shoumatoff got along with DeMartini, knowing they shared a common vision in the way they saw Park City Bike Demos being run.
“We had three offers and Rob’s was the lowest amount of money offered, but it wasn’t about the money, it was about finding the right person and we immediately clicked with Rob,” Shoumatoff said. “What we felt with Rob was this synergy that he could help us get better at what we don’t do well, and support us on things that we do well. … Nine out of 10 times we see eye to eye and I literally don’t have a single complaint to say about Rob. He’s been that good at what he does.”
Even though DeMartini might still be commuting to Park City, this is where he considers his permanent address. Owning the bike shop and seeing its growth and potential has helped him feel part of the community. His son, who works for POC — a Swedish winter sports manufacturing company — lives in Park City with his wife and daughter, while DeMartini also moved his parents to a house right across from his residence.
Owning a bike shop, having his family in town with him and making Park City his permanent address has helped forward the process of community acceptance DeMartini and his wife have craved.
“When I left New Balance, we made decision we were moving to Park City because no matter what I did or didn’t do, this was going to be our home,” DeMartini said. “Next year we want to put our van in the (Miner’s Day) parade, I want to contribute to the chamber of commerce. Even though Park City is growing a lot, its got a specific vibe so for us, it’s not how do we just preserve that but contribute to it as well.”
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