A young bicycle enthusiast has been a long time fan of Specialized bikes. Read on to see how his dream come true in super size.
What is your name and your role in this store?
My name is Rand. I’m the branding and marketing manager in this bike concept store called Specialized Elite Shop Kota Kinabalu. My partners here are Kelvin the operation manager, Andrew the accounting manager, and Edwin the public affairs and communications manager.
How it all started? Are you high school classmates?
Rand: Edwin was my secondary school classmate. Kelvin is my brother-in-law. Andrew is my church friend, he owns a bicycle shop in Taman Iramanis. Since I was 15 years old I had been a fan of Specialized bikes. Back then it was only a dream for me to own a Specialized bike because it was too expensive for me. I cycled a lot on my Specialized bike when working in KL. When I moved back to KK last year, I had a dream of opening a Specialized store. I tried approaching them and they really share the same vision with me. Then we started pursuing this dream of opening a Specialized store in Kota Kinabalu. Before us, there were actually some people trying to get similar approval from Specialized master franchise but failed to do so. I think one has to be very focused in this brand in order to run a store well. I told the region distributor that as a long time Specialized bicycle fanatic and an experienced marketing personnel myself, along with my team of bike enthusiasts, instead of just selling Specialized products, we can push the brand name popularity further in this region of the world.
Edwin: The region distributor saw the passion in Rand and immediately we were given the opportunity.
Rand: So when I look back to my teenage dream of owning a Specialized bike, it’s really a kind of super Dreams-Come-True when I get to open a Specialized concept store now.
Tell us more about Specialized KK.
Rand: Specialized is from the US. It is one of the top 3 bicycle brands in the world. This concept store is the first of it’s kind in Sabah, and third in Malaysia. But I can firmly say this store is one of the most beautiful in Malaysia with the latest store design, concept, and product lineup. We strive to be the best Specialized store in Malaysia. The Specialized US headquarter even provides us a huge pile of guide books to help us we manage and run the store flawlessly as possible.What so special about Specialized is that our range of products covers every component and accessory for a bike and also for the biker. You can buy anything in Specialized KK just as you could in the US store. Fanatics of Specialized Bikes no longer have to travel to KL or Singapore to look for gears they longed for.
Any signature product?
Rand: Our signature product is our S Work series which is the highest range of product for Specialized. One of this S work bike is actually a limited edition and there are only about 110 in the world.
How is the acceptance level of Specialized bikes in Sabah?
Rand: Most of our customers are the working adults in 30s. We have had many happy customers coming to visit our store. Even a non-biker enjoys visiting this store because of it’s nice design and atmosphere. Some even told us that this kind of store should be in Sabah long time ago as many Sabahan really loves the outdoor and biking. I am happy that the opening of Specialized KK is like a dream come true for them. It’s very encouraging for us as the young owners of this wonderful concept store. We really feel that this is the right time for Specialized KK.
What do you think about the current and future biking scene in Sabah?
Rand: The bicycle market in Sabah and throughout the whole world is booming. It’s growing rapidly. Very often you can see night cycling groups riding on KK roads. I am very grateful that the Sabah Government is starting to help pushing the biking scene popularity here by organizing various cycling clinics and tours for local and international bike enthusiasts.
Do you join or organize any regular biking activities? Do you prefer riding at night?
Kelvin: We always ride together. Our normal path would be to gather at Likas, go up to Signal Hill, ride down to Padang Merdeka, then up again to Istana and Karamunsing then back to Likas. We don’t have any preference on riding time. But the night car traffic at Signal Hill is very low so it’s much safer.
Rand: Previously we have regular bike activities for customers and friends. But recently we have been very busy setting up this dream store as a whole range of new stocks keep coming in. At the time being we have to put in more effort in this store to meet customers’ demand and satisfaction. Once the stocks are properly displayed and taken cared of, we will start planning activities for our customers and friends again. Please stay tuned at http://fb.com/specialized.kk for latest activities by us!
Regarding the safety of biking, what is your advice for bikers especially on narrow roads?
Rand: If you are new to biking, try to stick with the group. It’s much easier for drivers to notice you when riding in groups of at least 5. For night riders, make sure you have all the safety and shiny gears on. You need to know for your route what kind of timings have less car traffics which are safer for riding.
What do you love about Sabah?
Rand: I’m a Sabahan so this is always the place where I want to be. It feels more peaceful comparing to KL. We have a lot of new stuff happening in Sabah everyday, for example: restaurants with new concept and new ways of healthy lifestyle.
Kelvin: I studied in UK. But I choose to work and live in Sabah as I see the potential here is great too.
Find out more about Specialized Elite Shop Kota Kinabalu at http://fb.com/specialized.kk