Ding, clang, ding, ding,” sounds the brass bell. Slightly startled, I try to appear nonchalant as I look over my shoulder attempting to locate the source of the interruption. A second later, a voice in the dealership shouts, “At Rexburg Motor Sports, what do we do?” And a chorus answers “We ride!” “Why do we ride?” the original voice calls out. “Because we love it!” from the chorus. “How do we ride?” calls out the salesperson. “We ride it like we stole it!” is the reply. “Let’s ride!” they all call out together three times. A customer has just made a purchase.
Rexburg Motor Sports is a multi-brand dealership offering Kawasaki, Suzuki, Polaris, Yamaha, Honda, Arctic Cat and CanAm. They are located in a new 50,000 square foot facility just off Highway 20 in Rexburg, Idaho. If you’ve been to this part of the country before, you’ll recognize that address as the gateway to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. It also happens to be right next door to the St. Anthony Sand Dunes Recreation Site, and pretty darned close to the Island Park snowmobile area with its 950-plus miles of groomed trails.
It’s a gateway to grand adventure indeed, and Rexburg Motor Sports capitalizes on that cachet. With only 10 percent of their sales coming from their home county, clearly they are capitalizing with a capital C. The dealership has defined itself as the powersports solution in this adventure destination area. They offer customers the benefit of their area expertise in the form of a pseudo-travel agency. They’ll give customers detailed area information and itineraries for the optimal adventure, offering up everything short of the Visa card.
Many of Rexburg Motor Sports’ customers do a fly and buy, or a ride and buy. The most recent customers, an Australian couple who flew in, bought a Yamaha VMax and are now traveling through Yellowstone and other parts of the West before rolling their bike onto a boat and shipping it back to their homeland. Snowmobile aficionados benefit from the dealership offering all four snowmobile lines under one roof, and the same travel adventure expertise is offered as to the motorcycle/ ATV/UTV crowd.
“We give customers more than a friendly greeting and a good price,” says Rexburg Motor Sports managing partner Jared Burt. “We give them the whole package. We make sure they are buying the right vehicle, that they understand how to use the vehicle, and we help them tie into a network that creates the lifestyle.” They do this through an extensive interview focusing on the customer’s recreational ideals as a whole, rather than what the customer might have read in a magazine. Even if 90 percent of their business is from outside their zip code, they do plenty to keep it local. Burt says that they will host more than 100 rides this year. “The more customers ride, the more customers I have,” says Burt. “We’re selling adventure, fun and relationship therapy.” Rexburg Motor Sports sponsors the East Idaho Snow Expo, an event that draws thousands of people from all over.
Rexburg Motor Sports has an in-house advertising agency, and one dedicated employee whose job is events, social media and Internet presence. “This,” Burt says, “is why we have such word-of-mouth reach.” The dealership sends out a weekly email, targeted to each season and discipline of riding. This, along with its four ecommerce sites, keeps Rexburg Motor Sports plenty busy.
If all this seems like serious business, it is. Yet Burt manages to keep the joy in it. He grew up in the farm business, his grandfather having owned an International Harvester dealership. When I ask how he got into the powersports business, Burt says with a chuckle, “Well, I figured snowmobiles would be a lot funner to sell than farm equipment.” The dealership started in 1996 as a Polaris snowmobile shop, and shortly after added Suzuki. In 2005, they bought four other dealerships, and subsequently incorporated them all into one location.
Big business notwithstanding, there is an entertaining attitude throughout the dealership. There is a sign on the door that says, “Did you know a giraffe’s tongue is so long it can lick its own ears? Oh, and we’ll be closing at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.” Even when you call the store, the automated greeting offers you the choice of entering an extension directly or dialing zero “to speak with a nice sounding operator.”
“Ding, clang, ding,” sounds the brass bell again. A little hokey? You betcha. But after reading the wide, satisfied smile on the current customer’s face, a little over the top was more than perfect.