Like any good idea the company bike-components also had its origins in a pub. However, the founders and owners of the company, Klaus and Marcus initially had something completely different in mind as the opening of an online shop for bicycle parts and accessories: The idea was the launch of a suspension seatpost on the market.
The first engineering design of an optically normal support with adjustable suspension, ball bearings and not visible guides was quickly sketched on a beer coaster in the best Friedrich-Merz-manner. As if research, development and production were however not enough, it was agreed that the former distribution channels were not really good, and that one should first establish a reasonable distribution. Although social consensus prevailed that this "Internet" would not establish itself over the long term, one nevertheless that very night opted for the channel of online sales.
Usually one buries these "best" ideas the very next morning deep in the drawer. Not so in this case, on the contrary, the very next day, on 26.11.1997, the business was registered and in 1998 the webshop went online. bike-components was born.
The flat-shared community of the two, served as the company headquarters. When the first customer orders fluttered in, Klaus and Marcus had to scrape all the money that they had together to make the purchases. Each order was then printed-out and hung in the hallway. Each incoming part was checked off and stored in a vacant, previously unused room. Once all items of an order had been checked off, these were cleared in to the room Marcus had, in order to manually compile the invoice with MS Word and to pack the parts for shipping. Each package was then labelled by hand and taken to the nearest Parcel Shop.
Customers could of course also pick up their merchandise in person. The customer to this end rang the bell at the front door, submitted the order number over the house intercom and calmly waited in the entrance hall until Klaus or Marcus came running down to handover the order. The foundation for our store was laid in Aachen.
A company history that is hitherto marked by steady growth and success, unfolded. Whereas in the first year all the invoices (both purchase and sale) fit in a single file, the demand increased steadily and the nights were shorter. During the season the normal working day always extended beyond 0:00 hrs. In 2000, the flat-shared community was literally bursting at the seams - items were all over the place, so that new premises for BC were required. More professional structures were in the meantime established. The first business customer contract was concluded at the living room couch of the flat-shared community / BC headquarters, with the company DHL that up to today reliably delivers the majority of the orders worldwide. In addition, in October 2001 the first two employees were hire, in this case for incoming goods acceptance and outgoing goods shipment.
In 2001, after only one year, the in the meantime retained warehouse as well as the Order point at the Hirschgraben literally bust at all seams. With the offices at the Neupforte, the company now found an environment that offered the additional space for necessary extensions. More and more adjoining shops were thereby rented in order to cope with the increasing movement of goods. The sidewalk was to the delight of the local residents, the main artery of internal goods flow. The newly-leased outdoor warehouses were named after the previous tenants of the premises. The term "sushi" has as such survived to this day as the designation for the replenishing warehouse.
The increased demand in the meantime called forth some practical problems. Both money as well as storage space for own boxes were missing, the largely acclaimed pragmatism of the company was as such put to use. The central location in the city centre of Aachen proved to be an advantage, on account of the fast that all nearby shoe and wine shops could be scoured with a cage trolley, in order to collect unused boxes. For all tourists and city trotters, it was probably always a highlight when a BC employee with the cage trolley rattled over the cobblestones of the Aachen market.
The following years were marked by continued strong growth. The credo was, like today, always to offer excellent service at a fair price. Thus, the normal everyday problems of our cycling enthusiastic customers were always treated with much enthusiasm, regardless of whether someone on his way to India had lost his shoes on a drinking spree in Istanbul, and urgently needed a new pair or wanted to return his Tacx Antares because "I lost my balance and rod against the cabinet and thereby sustained injuries ". This service was then in part exuberantly rewarded "... if you're a beautiful woman, I love you! Kiss ... ". The increasing orders from abroad always proved to be a challenge for both our online translation tools as well as our service staff: "I dismiss (reference) your command (order) the XB ... X, because the wheel Mavic Ksyrium SL that I got (received), has been made for intestines, whereas I wanted wheels for tires normally with tubes [...] Thank you for your understanding, the greeting ".
The good prices were on account of the fact that our purchase department always worked to ensure that we procured the best deals. A supplier for example granted us a natural discount: in the event of an order amounting to more than 300€, a loaf of country bread was also granted to us for free. Another granted us free shipping for an order amounting to more than 1 million Euro.
Of course, a few glitches were also experienced along the way. Be it in the case of a newsletter that was shipped, with a remark please proofread, or in the event that we involuntarily called for respect between religions for the purpose of world understanding, the satisfaction of the customer has always been on in the foreground. Errors were as such quickly and easily solved, exemplary is a case in which a customer, "as a small compensation, accompanied the placement of an order with an oil," the relevant customer must have been very pleased to read the words "I'm 44 years and I have dry skin, I will immediately rub myself with your oil".
In 2010, after many years of strong growth, the hitherto biggest step in the development of the company was made, with the relocation to a significantly larger facility. All the structures and processes were re-analysed, improved and professionalized. Especially in the field of logistics, the basis for our present strength that pertains to short delivery times, was established. Deliveries exercised within 24 hours pursuant to the placement of an order are as such no longer regarded as record-breaking, but instead increasingly becoming the standard.
bike-components in the meantime employs in the areas of customer service, purchasing, marketing, product data management, logistics, incoming goods acceptance and outgoing goods shipment, store and workshop more than 100 employees that provide for a smooth order processing and short delivery times.
The first 15 years have been an experience. We look forward to many more years and would like to thank all our suppliers, business partners, employees, and not least our customers for the great time. We derive an enormous amount of pleasure in working with you.
... and we will reflect upon the suspension seatpost if time allows!
Your bike-components Team
Creation by Klaus Hoenig and Marcus Wenkel
Opening of the first online shop
Storage in Hirschgraben
New business premises in Neupforte
Expansion of the Showroom
Extension of the storage at Neupforte
Enlargement of the garage
Further extension of the storage
Augmentation via additional storage
Starting point of building a new logistics centre
End of July: Opening of the new logistics centre
scheduled expansion of the salesroom
Repeated expansion through additional external warehouse
New logo and new design for the webshop