In December 2022, one of the biggest brands in mountain biking, Specialized, announced that they were discontinuing the ambassador program. This was a surprise to many, especially the ambassadors that were notified email, but this was just the start of changes to come.
Then, on January 11, 2023, Specialized released a press release:
Long story short, Specialized announced that they were laying off 8% of their employees. This move is said to better serve the riders and retailers and adapt to the current global economy.
But not even a day after, possibly on the same day, another piece of news dropped from Specialized. They were buying a $14.9 million office building formerly owned by Pearl Izumi in Denver, CO. This office building was the home of Pearl Izumi from 2013 until just recently. Pearl Izumi used to be owned by Shimano from 2008 until May 2022 when they were purchased by United Sports Brands, and most of their work force was dispered to working remotely.
Records show that Specialized had purchased this property on December 28, 2022 for $14,940,339.
My Take: The mega corporation Specialized is in it to make money. Obviously mountain biking had a huge surge during the pandemic, and may just be returning to the normal amount of employees they had pre-pandemic. The ambassadors were an unfortunate casualty, but businesses should look at which ambassadors are moving the needle, and no just hand out free lunch to people who aren't fostering a mutually beneficial relationship. Nevertheless, the news of the ambassador program being canceled, the lay-offs, and the purchase of a multi-million dollar building don't look good for the brand and I could definitely see that hurting the brand's reputation for a short time. They'll be fine.
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