Many dealerships are family-owned, and many owners come from families of powersports dealers. However, having a “family business” doesn’t just mean keeping it in the family – it means creating a powersports family with staff and customers alike. It’s dealerships like these, nurturing such communities, that find long-term success.
One such dealership, based in Warrenton, Oregon, is L&D Race Tech, which proudly proclaims on its website homepage that it is, “Where powersports enthusiasts become a family, sharing adrenaline and unforgettable journeys!”
Warrenton is a coastal city on the northwesternmost tip of Oregon, and as such, L&D Race Tech calls itself the “heartbeat of the Oregon coast’s powersports community.” With its home in the wild terrain of the West, the dealership specializes in off-road powersports, particularly enduro bikes. However, it didn’t start that way.
L&D Race Tech actually got its beginnings in 1995, when owner Don Hall started repairing his friends’ and other local community members’ bikes out of his garage as a side job. In 1999, he opened his first shop with his son, Len. They quickly grew, moving into their current location in 2000. Today, L&D has once more gotten too big for its space and is now in the process of building a new facility.
According to Kenneth Standring, marketing manager of L&D Race Tech, this family-run business has multiple generations working for it and focuses on the community, prioritizing the customer experience to make sure patrons feel like they are more than just customers: They are family.
“We take a very personalized approach to where each person is unique, so we’re not going to use run-of-the-mill kind of conversation structures, because we want to make sure that our conversations with them are just as unique as they are,” Standring explains.
With its focus on enduro bikes, it makes sense that the dealership’s best-selling vehicles are the Husqvarna TE 300 and the KTM XC-W 300. As far as gear goes, Scorpion jackets and SHOEI helmets are most popular.
While Standring notes that sales for both vehicles and parts, gear and accessories (PG&A) has been slower now than in the past few years, there’s been an uptick over the summer, due in part to the company’s eBay sales, as well as the fact that it now offers distributor drop shipping on its website — something that sets this dealership apart from most others.
“We offer a wide selection of catalogs, and it’s going to be from a variety of different manufacturers,” Standring says. “Someone can order, and then we drop ship it straight from the distributor. That way, we don’t have to have all the inventory on-site.”
There’s one other way L&D is hoping to rev up sales in the coming years, and that’s with e-bikes. Currently, the dealership sells STACYC e-bikes, which are focused on youth riders, and just received Husqvarna and KTM e-bikes in youth sizes. With e-bike sales projected to keep climbing over the next several years, L&D understands that this is a revenue opportunity it cannot afford to miss. Standring projects it will be a critical part of the dealership sooner than later.
That said, while L&D sees a place for e-bikes, it has not brought on any other types of electric vehicles yet, taking more of a “wait and see” approach for when those vehicles become more comparable and competitive with gas-powered ones.
The addition of drop shipping and e-bikes are only two of the ways L&D has started enhancing its business in recent years. Another area the dealership sought to improve was its marketing. That’s where Standring, who has only been with the company for a year, came in. Before hiring him, L&D did little in the way of marketing and had a small social media footprint with only sporadic posting. Now, Standring is treading new ground and seeing results.
“We’ve started implementing social media to engage with our followers in the community and then providing relevant content that keeps us top-of-mind,” he says. “That’s going to include promotional campaigns and discounts and then incentivizing purchases. Since we personalized our communications and our excellent customer services, it helps us build a strong community and attract more traffic through word of mouth while retaining loyal customers.”
Standring also brought the company to YouTube and TikTok. While Facebook and Instagram are the platforms showing the most engagement, Standring is still impressed by the growing amount of views the company’s YouTube channel is getting.
“We’re also in the process of making sure that our website is very user-friendly on mobile, because a majority of our audience that comes to our website is going to be from mobile … as well as improving our visibility in the surrounding areas,” Standring adds.
L&D is also improving its service department. The team recently brought on a new service manager, who has been introducing a clearer and easier path of communication between the techs as well as implementing a more streamlined process for how they complete service tickets. Part of this communication involves working more with the parts department to make sure the service department has the inventory it needs, but also so the parts department doesn’t order what isn’t needed. In addition, L&D is growing its customization offerings on top of the standard service orders it fulfills.
Obviously, a growing business comes with growing pains, and the greatest of those is trying to find the personnel to handle everything.
“Recently, our biggest challenge would be trying to grow our team,” Standring admits. “Employment has been a tricky situation, as it has been for a lot of different businesses, but we’re working to overcome it just by … expanding where we’re offering our job listings on different kinds of websites … as well as increasing pay and benefits.”
After all, for L&D, the team is the crucial part of the dealership, so it is important to the company to treat its staff members properly — like family. “They’re the backbone of our dealership, so the success we enjoy today is directly a result of their hard work and commitment and their unwavering support throughout the years, which has helped shape the dealership we are today,” Standring concludes.
L&D Race Tech
1035 SE Marlin Ave.
Warrenton, OR 97146
OEMs: KTM, Husqvarna, Can-Am, SSR Motorsports, Kymco and Kayo
Distributors: Parts Unlimited, Tucker Powersports, Western Power Sports
Number of employees: 12
Number of locations: 1