Returning to roots

Celebrating their new-found independence are (from left) Racers Edge co-director Steve Schikker, ...
Celebrating their new-found independence are (from left) Racers Edge co-director Steve Schikker,  human resources co-ordinator Katey Page and co-director Charlie Cochrane, in the  store this week. PHOTO: MARJORIE COOK
A selection of photographic memorabilia from Racers Edge. PHOTO: DIANA SCHIKKER
A selection of photographic memorabilia from Racers Edge. PHOTO: DIANA SCHIKKER
A selection of photographic memorabilia from Racers Edge. PHOTO: DIANA SCHIKKER
A selection of photographic memorabilia from Racers Edge. PHOTO: DIANA SCHIKKER
A selection of photographic memorabilia from Racers Edge. PHOTO: DIANA SCHIKKER
A selection of photographic memorabilia from Racers Edge. PHOTO: DIANA SCHIKKER
A selection of photographic memorabilia from Racers Edge. PHOTO: DIANA SCHIKKER
A selection of photographic memorabilia from Racers Edge. PHOTO: DIANA SCHIKKER
A selection of photographic memorabilia from Racers Edge. PHOTO: DIANA SCHIKKER
A selection of photographic memorabilia from Racers Edge. PHOTO: DIANA SCHIKKER

Wanaka outdoor retail institution Racers Edge is returning to its roots as an independent outdoor equipment retailer in Wānaka.

The 35-year-old business was founded in 1989 to service Wanaka’s fledgling ski industry.

It quickly evolved with the growth of the town’s outdoor industry and now also outfits bikers, runners, trampers and other outdoor adventurers.

The founders spent their early days working from a small wooden shack in Ardmore St before Dave Crawford, Steve Schikker and others decided to develop a larger retail building.

Over the years, it has grown to three storeys.

In more recent times, Racers Edge partnered with national outdoor retail chain Torpedo7  and moved its bike business into a separate building on the corner of Helwick and Dunmore Sts.

But in February, the Warehouse Group sold Torpedo7 for $1 to Tahua Partners, allowing Racers Edge to "de-couple"from the chain.

Racers Edge managing director Charlie Cochrane said the owners and shop teams were  excited  about the future and "new-found independence’’.

There would be no changes in location for the main store or the bike shop.

"We are looking to the future with new purpose and vigour."

The business  closed this week because it was in the middle of a brand refresh. 

Racers Edge has three co-owners: Mr Cochrane, Mr Schikker and Destination Queenstown chief executive Mat Woods. 

Following the 2007-08 global financial crisis, it established a partnership with R&R Sports, allowing the company to further establish its presence through access to a stronger buying base and improved business infrastructure. 

But a  year later, R&R Sports was acquired by The Warehouse Group and the franchise agreement between R&R Sports and Racers Edge was transferred to Torpedo7. 

During this transaction no shares changed hands, and Racers Edge remained locally owned and operated, but under a franchise model, Mr Cochrane explained.

As Torpedo7 scaled into a large, more mainstream outdoor chain, the Wānaka outfit found it had become more difficult to integrate the franchise model into the Torpedo7 operation,  reducing the benefits of the franchise. 

"We were two separate companies heading in different directions. 

"Racers Edge was focused on delivering the specialist customer experience ranging quality international brands whilst T7 was pushing more into the home-brand space."

Work to uncouple the two businesses began late last year, preparing Racers Edge to return to its independent roots from mid-March.

This was also around the time Torpedo7 announced its sale.

"The sale of Torpedo7 during the uncoupling process came as a surprise to all of us, [but] it also cemented the decision, and highlighted the need to make it happen faster. 

"The entire decoupling exercise presented the opportunity to re-evaluate who we are as a business, and the role we want to play within the larger outdoor community,"Mr Cochrane said.

A branding exercise with Christchurch agency Plato had been "hugely enlightening’’.

"One of the key messages that continued to surface throughout was the belief, that in this always on, fast-paced world, people need to get outside and play more.’’

Racers Edge will reveal its new logo when it reopens tomorrow.

 

Advertisement