Photos by Maurice Tierney and Shimano
In response to its rapid growth, Shimano American Corporation has expanded its Irvine, Calif., office building by some 48,000 square feet turning it into a massive 51,000 square foot distribution center. An entirely new, modern business center also opened directly across the street for Shimano’s marketing, R&D and inside sales staff.
A recent move by Shimano to go dealer direct with its products, which also includes Pearl Izumi and a host of fishing brands, not only means lower prices for the customer but a need to expand warehouse capability for shipping, receiving and storage. Even after a year the project is still being completed with a new fire sprinkler system being installed, new hi-tech conveyers being finalized and large storage spaces being prepared. Other changes to the former offices include a fishing rod and reel repair and warranty center for quick turnaround.
Shimano’s Marketing Manager Joe Lawwill, who raced professionally for over 10 years and won a Masters Downhill World Championship in 2002, showed us around the entrance to the new, highly modern Business Center. Visitors are treated to an action video loop on the main screen while a smaller interactive monitor showcases Shimano’s history in cycling.
Mountain bike product manager Matt Robertson is responsible for a massive amount of R&D and is highly influential when it comes to new Shimano off-road products. He splits his time between the new offices and his workshop across the street, which we weren’t allowed into due to new 2015 products being finalized. Behind Matt on the wall, Shimano asked employees to provide photos of themselves enjoying the outdoors for a wall collage.
This homage to 3.3.3. plays a significant role in Shimano’s history. Its very first product, made by Shimano Iron Works in 1921, was the 3.3.3. freewheel. The numbers stand for the three Shimano brothers who started the company in Japan. Interestingly, while Shimano has photos and drawings of the legendary freewheel they don’t actually have one from 1921 and are currently on the lookout. So if you know anyone who has one…
Shimano will be rotating its display of pro bikes every few months. Currently you can get a close up look at Andy Schleck’s 2011 Trek.
A showroom has been created to display all of Shimano’s bicycle parts, shoes and clothing, Pear Izumi product and its fishing brands. There’s also meeting spaces with video monitors so retailers can come directly to Shimano (rather than reps having to schlep everything across the country) for a full line overview. This process is aimed at speeding up and easing orders for the coming year.
Fishing is a major part of Shimano’s business. It makes (or owns companies that make) reels, rods, fishing line and an array of clothing.
Lawwill points out a very important part of the lunchroom: a beer tap that’s ready to go. You’ll find the usual stuff as well, a mini fridge with water, juice and beer. A microwave, espresso maker, etc. And of course couches and a flat screen connected to cable TV.
The upstairs office area is set up without walls or cubicles; even the Vice President of the bike division sits in an open space. Each desk has a mini couch next to it to encourage communication. The ceiling has ambient noise reducers to eliminate unnecessary loudness.
Shimano recently hosted a Sunday, post Anaheim Supercross road ride attended by staff, select media, mountain bike pros Brian Lopes and Hans Rey as well as a variety of current motocross and road racing stars including 2013 East Coast Lites Champion Wil Hahn, Davi Millsaps, Justin Bogle and road racers Josh Hayes (current SuperBike champion), Chris Fillmore and Tommy Aquino.
Other Shimano athletes in attendance were the “King of Supercross” Jeremy McGrath, Jimmy Button, Ernesto Fonseca, jet-skier turned mountain bike champion Victor “Slasher” Sheldon, “Factory” Phil Lawrence and motocross legend Mike “Too Tall” Bell. This Moto Athlete Open House Road Ride Day was one of the first opportunities for Shimano to show off its new Business Center to friends and athletes.
We also got word that there are some pretty amazing new technologies coming from Shimano this summer, so keep a close on our blog for details.