Mavic’s La Maison Jaune

Mavic’s La Maison Jaune

It used to be you could go to a trade show, show some stuff and your rep force would write down orders. And then they’d visit the dealers that didn’t go to Interbike and write a bunch more orders. That world is part of an economy that no longer exists. Out the window with job security, wage growth and pensions.

Simply being competitive in the bike market requires manufacturers to think in fresh and creative ways. Not only do you have to produce products of exceptional value, you need sophisticated marketing, integrated education for sales staff, and the ability to get product to dealers at speeds the postal service can’t match. It’s an order taller than an NBA forward.

IMG_8693

The French brand Mavic is among a small collection of brands that calls the Northeast its stateside home (Pennsylvania then suburban Boston). While their neutral support program gave them an intimate yet broad reach, they have struggled to maintain as high profile a presence on the West Coast as California-based brands (understandable) or even the Chicago-based SRAM once they grew their neutral support.

IMG_8694

All that changed last week when the manufacturer announced the opening of la Maison Jaune (the Yellow House) in Newbury Park, California. The facility sits just down the road from Giant’s U.S. headquarters in Ventura County at the very edge of Los Angeles’ massive sprawl (no one wants 10 million people on 10 miles of beach).

So what is it? Well, it serves two purposes. The front of the “house” is a showroom. Nearly every product Mavic currently produces is on hand (I didn’t know they were doing hydration packs). It’s just the sort of space where reps can have a calm meeting with a store buyer, or where shop staff can sit through a presentation on a product’s technical benefits. And if there’s one thing for which shop staff is frequently criticized, it’s their knowledge level about any product they aren’t riding.

IMG_8696

For journalists, it’s the perfect antidote to Interbike. The idea that I might return in a few weeks to spend a day going through the entire apparel and shoe line with nary an interruption made me slightly giddy. I’ve no idea if their apparel fits me or if I’d even like it, but I’d welcome the chance to at least learn about it in an environment you wouldn’t call makeshift.

IMG_8697

As Mavic has expanded its offerings away from wheels and components, my knowledge level has decreased at a squared function. And it’s not for lack of interest. I’m hoping these new digs give me a chance to learn their product line better. Their use of photography to evoke the drama and beauty of cycling is beyond stylish. And while I didn’t shoot it, the bathroom (which was built out with a shower) includes a shot from the Roubaix velodrome showers. Yeah. IMG_8698

The back of the house is what you might expect from a Mavic outpost. Lots of wheels, lots of tools, a bunch of spare bikes and more. IMG_8699

What really surprised me was that I really hadn’t considered just how much equipment would go into creating a neutral support presence on the West Coast. IMG_8700

When I toured the new facility, part of the invitation included plans for a ride, so naturally, this being Mavic, all the bikes needed to be checked to make sure they were in tip-top shape. IMG_8701I’m not really a motorcycle guy (unless we’re watching them go 150 mph on TV), but I really dig a motorcycle with wheel racks. Mavic really set the bar for what great neutral support is and their level of preparedness defined PRO support. Look up neutral support in Wikipedia and you’ll see Mavic’s logo.

Thanks to its location, la Maison Jaune will be hosting rides here and there as a means to foster the bike culture it supports. I can’t wait for me as it will give me access (easier access) to all those climbs in the far western portion of the Santa Monica Mountains. And maybe I’ll finally get a chance to ride some of the ultra-fast Cosmic CXRs.

 

, , , , ,

8 comments

  1. harris

    It looks like a shrine to all things cool. If Campagnolo USA put a similar store next door, I would move there.

    1. Full Monte

      Harris, not just a store, a mall. An entire cycling MALL. With little guys as small as the Sock Guy to big anchor stores like Trek and Giant and Specialized. You can go from manufacturer to manufacturer, ogling and fondling the latest apparel and bikes and equipment.

      Next door to the cycling mall is a music mall (in my utopia) where you can hang out it the Gretsch store, then walk around in the effects pedal court, wander through percussion, and for good measure I’d stop by Vincent Bach and give the Stadivarius Bb trombone with F attachment a blow, the Rickenbacker for a go on a 4003.

  2. Pat O'Brien

    Full Monte that is a grand idea. You add a Traynor and Godin store to the music mall, and a Soma shop on the bike side, and I’m in.

  3. SusanJane

    Adore the hairpin turn wall art! I’d have no problem looking at that every day! I’ll see if I can find it as a desktop image instead.

  4. Hoshie99

    Nice and not too far away.

    Anyone who came of racing age in CA and is now well into 40+ masters will also likely remember their helpful neutral support vehicle which I had to use once on a time trial going up Mt Baldy.

    Kudos to them for investing again here on the left coast.

    J

  5. Hautacam

    Sooo glad they went with a proper French moniker to honor their heritage and not some stupid quasi-euphonious marketing sylla-babble like i-wheels or alphanumeric nonsense like Wheel5. La Maison Jaune is just the ticket. And the art looks great.

    I’ve always been tempted to slap a great big “Mavic Neutral Support” sticker or two on my bright yellow hatchback. Aesthetically the car seems incomplete without it.

    Chapeau!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>