The second decade of the 21st century opened to tough times. The impact of the recession was being felt throughout North America, and retail was hit hard by the effects of unemployment and decreased discretionary spending. As a result, discounting and sales events became the norm for savvy shoppers. United Cycle had new competition with the opening of Pro Hockey Life and expansion of the Sport Chek and Canadian Tire brands in the market. Independent bike stores contended for the same customers, making event participation and grassroots support increasingly important. As other companies were pulling back on support and sponsorship, United Cycle increased efforts to invest back into the community.

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Business operations were challenged to change during this decade owing to both external conditions and the new building. The common refrain was ‘we are too big to be small business and too small to be a big business’! The management was in steady pursuit of the company’s ‘sweet spot’. The decision to open Sunday’s was an example of one of these decisions. Although the family was proud to have remained closed through 8 decades of business, customers were finding it difficult to support United Cycle without the opportunity to be serviced 7 days per week. The organizational structure went through several evolutions, which includes the additions of senior (non-family) roles, bringing some outside retail experience to the table to learn from.

The Alberta economy alternated between big highs with the expansion of the Fort MacMurray region and significant lows, when gas prices plummeted. This made strategy key, trying to anticipate the customer’s needs and budgets.

With challenge comes new opportunity. United Cycle was able to grow certain areas of business by selling ‘on the road’ at events, with products like figure skates. United Cycle also opened a ‘kiosk’ at the GO Community Centre, primarily for basketball and volleyball. After much effort and investment, the company was also now selling online.

While sports such as hockey were experiencing a decrease in registration, several recreational activities were growing. United Cycle experienced breakouts with products like scooters, fat bikes, and now electric bikes. They also continued to evolve the selection by growing ‘athleisure’ clothing and adding triathlon bikes, swim, and ski, to name a few. Success hinged on the ability to anticipate and respond to popular items. A few hits from the period include S’well water bottles, SAXX underwear, and sports nutrition. Staff numbers were rapidly expanding to staff the new building, peaking at 280.

Much excitement was in store for the home town crowd (after years of frustration with local professional sports teams) with the development of the Ice District and Roger’s Place; a Grey Cup win for the Eskimos, winning the draft lottery for Connor McDavid, and an exciting Oilers playoff run in 2017. Fans fervor (selling out Molson Canadian Hockey House and Roger’s Place even during away games) caught national attention and re-sparked the conversation about celebrating Edmonton as a ‘City of Champions’.

The company ownership continued to evolve as United Cycle reached its 90th year. Wilf Brooks and Iola Bots have retired. Jeff and Leah Stuparyk stepped away from the business and Iola’s daughter Lisa Ross became an owner. Several 5th generation members of the family were working part-time as they pursue their studies. Brother and sister Jason Bots and Lisa Ross, together with a solid group of long term staff members, lead the company as it heads toward the century mark!


United Cycle opened on Sundays, for the first time in 83 years.

A General Manager was hired to help support the 4th generation owners.

Internal focus for the company on improvements and efficiencies.


Lois Brooks (wife of 2nd generation owner Reg Brooks) and our Mom / Grandma passed away in November.

United Cycle brought on some new talents and experience to the team.

United Cycle faced some challenges with Information Technology and Systems Infrastructure bringing on some outside service providers.


After having started in online sales a few years prior, United Cycle launched a new e-commerce site to enhance the shopping experience.I

ntroduction of the internal UCIE’s staff awards event.

The Fort McMurray wildfire gripped the province and remarkable efforts brought together communities throughout Alberta to support those affected.

Roger’s Place and Ice District opened.


Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States.

Oiler fever hit the city (and United Cycle!) as car flags were sold in quantities of over 2,000 per day and jerseys disappeared from the shelves.

Wilf and Iola announced their retirements.

Jeff and Leah Stuparyk moved on from United Cycle.

Lisa Ross joined the ownership group.


We Celebrated 90 Years in business and part of the community! Mayor Don Iveson declared April 7, 2018 United Cycle Day when we celebrated. We also received the ‘keys to Old Strathcona’ from board member Matt Chapman.

At the same time we unveiled our rebranded to the name United Sport & Cycle along with our new Chevron Logo and slogan “This is your community, this is your sports store”. We are still the same company, the same family with the same values of the past 90 years but with a new look.

The horrific Humbolt Broncos Hockey Team bus crash that took 16 lives and injured many more rippled through the province and will always be remembered.

The iconic Retailer Sears declared bankruptcy after 132 years in business


Opened our first ‘Community Store’ in the West End of Edmonton in a 6,500 sq ft space on March 15, 2019.

We launched on our Shopify e-commerce platform.

Launched our sales training program called LIPSMAC.

Added the Giant bicycle brand.

Added our own in-house embroidery machine for our Team Sales division.

Jason Kenny the leader of the United Conservative Party became the 18th Premier of Alberta

2010s facts

  • Population of Edmonton: 972,223

  • Prime Minister: Justin Trudeau

  • Average annual income: $50,000

  • Average cost of a mountain bike: $950

  • Average cost of top end skates: $800

  • Skate sharpening: $8

  • Entertainment was shifting with the popularity of Netflix and continued dominance of social media.

  • During this decade artificial intelligence, 3D printing, smart watches and green vehicles were becoming the new normal!

  • Commerce had a new twist with mobile payments, online banking and concepts like kickstarter campaigns and go fund me.

Alberta Strong

2016 saw a devastating event rock our province – the Fort McMurray wildfire. Support efforts started immediately at United Cycle. Special discount were offered to those affected, suppliers were engaged and leveraged, gear was gathered, and our marketing department was mobilized to get the word out. We met brand new customers, many of them individuals who had been displaced to homes and shelters around Edmonton. Amazing stories emerged of staff personally buying items or sharing their own gear. In June, United Cycle hosted a very special press conference, together with Sport Central and CCM. We announced a tally of over $500,000 in equipment donations to our Sport for the North Equipment Drive. United Cycle and Sport Central partnered with Rosenau Transport in the ‘Sport for the North’ drive to deliver half million dollars of equipment directly to Fort McMurray from our generous customers and partners.


United Sport & Cycle is a company that doesn’t take pause to celebrate very often; however, we are tremendously proud when we do! In 2016, the company started an annual tradition called the ‘UCIE’s’ to acknowledge the accomplishments of our wonderful team. With awards ranging from Team Spirit, Best Event, and even Messiest Desk, it is an opportunity to reflect on the year and give each of other a much deserved pat on the back.

United Sport & Cycle has been very fortunate to receive recognition from outside our four walls as well: Canadian Association of Family Business’ Enterprise of the Year; Recreation for Life Foundation Award of Excellence for Innovation in Recreation Products and Retailing; University of Alberta School of Retailing Outstanding Contribution to Retail Award; Retail Council of Canada Ambassador Award for Commitment to Community; University of Alberta Community Inclusion Award and the Lieutenant Governor’s Corporate Community Leader Award (together with our partner Sport Central), to name a few. And….we are always thrilled when our customers leave a positive kudo on our comment cards, online or in surveys conducted by local newspapers for favourite bicycle and sport stores!