Hillview Motorsports literally works both sides of the street. The street is State Route 30, southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The dealership has two locations, one on each side of the road. The store on one side sells Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki motorcycles and ATVs. The store on the other side sells Indian motorcycles, Polaris off-road vehicles, Slingshots, and Kawasaki UTVs.
The divide between the locations reflects Hillview’s diverse customer base. The area is suburban in one direction and rural in the other. On-road metric bikes tend to be purchased by younger suburban folks. Side-by-sides tend to leave with farmers and other rural landowners. Recreation-minded families buy ATVs and dirt bikes. Several wealthy people have bought property in the area, and Hillview does a lot of business with the caretakers of the estates, who need utility vehicles to move supplies for landscaping and repairs, and to shovel snow.
Indian motorcycles are often bought by older people who are used to riding American motorcycles. They often want to customize their machines and require more attention than younger customers interested in metric bikes. Another customer segment showing growth are female riders. More women appear at Hillview every year, and the dealership makes an effort to identify motorcycles that are appropriate for the short of leg. Steering shorter women riders towards Indian Scouts and Suzuki Vulcans has worked well for the shop.
Hillview Motorsports is owned and run by Tom Schimizzi. Schimizzi’s family ran a car dealership, and Schimizzi got started selling vehicles at an early age. He found that he not only liked sales, but was good at it. With help from his family, Schimizzi purchased what is now Hillview East at a bankruptcy sale when he was only 25 years old.
“I thought it was a more enjoyable opportunity than selling cars,” Schimizzi says. He took over the space, rehabbed it, and made the location profitable. Hillview has had the local Yamaha and Suzuki franchises for a long time, but has recently started adding OEMs. When the family that ran a Polaris and Indian business across the street decided to retire and sell the business, Tom bought them out and changed the name to Hillview West. Although Schimizzi has been selling Kawasaki UTVs for some time, there were no Kawasaki two wheelers on his showroom floor. That changed in July 2023, when Kawasaki motorcycles joined the Hillview lineup.
Before the pandemic, Hillview concentrated on a volume business that also valued excellent customer service. “The motto of the sales department was, ‘You don’t have a customer until you sell the unit,’” Schimizzi notes. “Our sales team was coached to do anything within reason to make a sale.” Hillview has a five-star rating on Yelp and a 4.7 star rating on Google, demonstrating that customers like the Hillview approach.
“Since we had been so good at moving units, we got a good allocation from the manufacturers,” Schimizzi points out. “We now strive for a good balance between sales and margin. We are one of the top 10 Yamaha dealers in the country and the No. 1 Yamaha side-by-side dealership.”
Hillview’s mission statement is, “Building lasting relationships with our partners and employees while serving the recreational and travel community. Our core values shall be based on honesty, integrity and service to the community.”
Hillview expands and solidifies its customer base by forming partnerships with local organizations. The Yamaha outdoor access initiative has grant money available for groups who work to improve outdoor recreation opportunities. The dealership helped a nearby family-oriented ATV club that has a private facility with trails apply for and win a grant to help maintain their property.
A union local in the vicinity had been holding sweepstakes, with the grand prize of a motorcycle or ATV sourced from Hillview, as a way to entice members to attend safety meetings. The winner never wanted the exact vehicle that was being given away, so an inventive union member came up with the idea of raffling off a $15,000 gift card instead. This idea was instantly popular, as the winner can use the money for service or customization on an existing vehicle, a down payment for the purchase of a four-by-four, ATV or motorcycle, or the entire purchase price plus accessories for a dirt bike or used motorcycle.
The popularity of the gift card idea has led to a second group raffling off a $15,000 gift card. “It increases our exposure,” Schimizzi says. “The winner now has the opportunity of qualifying for the dream bike or off-road vehicle they could not otherwise afford.”
Like other dealerships, Hillview had an influx of new riders during the pandemic. “People were looking for something to do,” he says. Wanting to ensure that the new riders keep riding and enjoying their powersports vehicles, the shop sponsors ATV training and sends all new street riders to the Pennsylvania motorcycle safety course. It also promotes the nearby ATV club as a safe, family-friendly place to get out on a trail. Hillview points customers who feel the need for speed towards the local motocross track, Latrobe Speedway, where Hillview sponsors the Friday night dirt bike and ATV events.
Schimizzi believes the future of transportation is electric vehicles, but he sees the changeover in powersports being significantly behind acceptance of electric automobiles and being at least 15-20 years out. “Part of the problem is that there are no charging stations out in the hinterlands, where many of my customers want to go. Unlike the automotive customer base, we are an industry of enthusiasts.”
In the next five years, Schimizzi is considering bringing all the brands under one roof, in an expanded dealership on one side of the street. Otherwise, “Hillview is looking to expand sales in all brands it carries and bring the quality of sales of each brand up.”
4450 Route 30 AND 4385 Route 30
Latrobe, PA 15650
(724) 539-9113 or (724) 537-5001
OEM: Yamaha, Suzuki, Polaris, Slingshot, Kawasaki, Indian
Accessories: Parts Unlimited, Tucker, Western Power Sports