After bankruptcy, all Performance Bicycle stores are expected to close next month

Performance Bicycle store closing sale at Sutton Square on Falls of Neuse Rd. In Raleigh in January, 2019.
Performance Bicycle store closing sale at Sutton Square on Falls of Neuse Rd. In Raleigh in January, 2019.

This story has been updated to correct what type of firm Tiger Capital Group is.

Performance Bicycle stores are expected to close next month, after the Chapel Hill company had its assets sold in a bankruptcy auction.

But the company’s brand will remain, as one of the bidders plans to keep the company’s e-commerce business alive.

Performance Bicycle has had a turbulent few months since its parent company, Advanced Sports Enterprises, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year. All of its stores are currently running liquidation sales, and the company has laid off hundreds at its corporate office in Chatham County, The News & Observer previously reported.

Performance Bicycle has had a long history in the area, starting out as a catalog in Chapel Hill about 30 years ago before opening hundreds of stores across the country. It was bought by Advanced Sports in 2016, which also owned the bike brands Fuji, Kestrel, SE, Breezer Bikes and Tuesday Cycles as well as the retailer Bike Nashbar.

Briefly, it appeared that some Performance Bicycle stores might survive the bankruptcy, had the European sports company Head Sport acquired the assets of Advanced Sports Enterprises, which it initially agreed to do in January.

But after the bid fell apart over a disagreement, the assets were acquired by a collection of companies that appear to have no interest in the chain’s brick-and-mortar stores.

The winning bid was put together by a collection of companies called The Tiger Group, which includes Tiger Capital Group, a financial services firm that helps liquidate faltering companies. The company has managed store-closing sales for Toys “R” Us, HHGregg, Gander Mountain and other stores, CNBC reported last year.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly called Tiger Capital Group a hedge fund. The company provides advisory and disposition services to clients.

The Tiger Group’s winning bid — which will split the assets of the company into several pieces — was just over $23 million, according to court documents. Trade publication Bicycle Retailer was the first to report the winning bid.

Tiger Capital will now operate the wholesale business of Advanced Sports, which includes the bike brands Fuji, Kestrel and Breezer, among others. Other members of the bid included AMain, which will take over Performance Bicycle and Nashbar’s e-commerce business, and K&B Investment Corp., which is buying Advanced Sports properties in Chapel Hill and Philadelphia.

Tiger Capital — which has the lease designation rights for Performance Bicycle’s retail stores — currently has no plans to relaunch the stores following the liquidation sales that are currently happening, said Karen Bliss, a spokeswoman for Advanced Sports.

Bicycle Retailer, a trade publication, reported on Thursday that all of Performance Bicycle’s stores will close on March 2.

Tiger has so far refused to comment on the future of the physical retail locations when asked by The News & Observer. A spokesperson referred questions to Gordon Brothers, the company that is managing the store-closing sales at Performance locations across the country. Efforts to reach Gordon have so far been unsuccessful.

But despite the pending demise of Performance Bicycle’s retail locations, the brand will continue online, said Kendall Bennett, CEO of AMain Cycling.

“The Performance Bike and Bike Nashbar web site domains are successful e-commerce websites that we were targeting since the middle of 2018 in the event they became available,” Bennett said in an email. “We are a significant player in the radio control market and achieving the same success as a start up in the bike industry has been challenging. We felt that it made a lot of sense for us to grow our business through acquisition.”

Bennett said the company plans to keep the two brands as separate websites after migrating them to AMain’s e-commerce platform.

Bennett added that AMain has talked to few Performance Bicycle employees who had been laid off about joining AMain and that the company is considering eventually using some of the former Performance Bicycle office space in Chapel Hill.

“Unfortunately, with the nature and timing of the sale, we aren’t ready or able to continue to operate there today,” Bennett said, adding, “don’t count us out returning to the area though by 2020.”

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Zachery Eanes is the Innovate Raleigh reporter for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He covers technology, startups and main street businesses, biotechnology, and education issues related to those areas.