Midland Powersports, under the leadership of owner Jason Heller, has emerged as a prominent player in the dynamic and exhilarating world of powersports in central Texas. What was once a small Honda and Kawasaki store has since evolved into a multi-faceted powersports dealership offering a variety of OEMs and different vehicle types.
Heller’s profound passion for the powersports industry was ignited from a young age. His family had always been interested in motorcycles, which led to his father acquiring a small Honda and Kawasaki store back in 1993. Witnessing the thrill and adventure of motorcycles firsthand, Heller’s love for the industry grew, eventually leading him to make the bold decision of leaving college and joining the family business. Reflecting on his early days in the industry, Heller states, “I’ve always been a gearhead. I’ve always liked motorcycles. So, it was a natural fit for me early on.”
Over time he climbed the ranks, starting in the back as a forklift operator, then service worker, parts manager, sales manager and eventually general manager in 2012 once his father stopped consistently coming into the store. Each year and in each role, he continued to gain valuable experience and learn about the inside of the industry. In 2017, his father decided to sell the business – Heller assumed the mantle of Midland Powersports and embarked on a mission to revitalize the dealership.
“I took over in January 2018 and he had zero involvement after that,” Heller says. “We have very different management styles and approaches to doing business. Obviously being a bit younger, I’m a little more aggressive and willing to take risk, and that’s what we’ve been doing for some time now.
“We had a lot of older customers that were leaving the sport around that time and in our area, so we had to make Midland Powersports relevant again.”
The main realization at that time was that Midland Powersports needed to attract a younger customer base while retaining the loyalty of existing customers; because of this, Heller set out to make strategic changes. And those strategic changes have paid off so far. According to Heller, the dealership’s top line revenue is almost double of what it was in 2017.
Effective marketing and customer engagement have played a pivotal role in Midland Powersports’ success story and building up that customer base. Heller recognizes the significance of social media in reaching a broader audience and staying relevant.
“We use social media extensively to connect with customers and showcase our products. It’s a powerful tool for us to stay relevant and engage with our community.”
The dealership actively participates in manufacturer programs and collaborates with industry partners to create enticing incentives and promotions, further expanding its reach and attracting new customers.
One of the key strategies implemented by Heller was to diversify Midland Powersports’ product lineup. The dealership proudly represents renowned manufacturers such as Can-Am, Polaris (ATVs only), Honda Power Equipment, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Husqvarna and more. By offering a wide range of products, from motorcycles and ATVs to power equipment, Heller aimed to cater to different interests and budgets, transforming Midland Powersports into a one-stop shop for powersports enthusiasts.
“We wanted to have a good mix of products to cater to different interests and budgets. We’ve become a one-stop shop for powersports enthusiasts,” he states.
Being in central Texas at the bottom of the panhandle means that Midland can market vehicles for all-year round use. Low 60-degrees F in the winter months means that all types of motorcycles can be sold in any season, and despite being far from the Gulf of Mexico, Midland racks in a ton of boat sails from people who need a break from the 100-plus-degree summers. It carries offerings from Sanger, Crownline and Sea-Doo.
“It’s all about positioning,” Heller says. “We’re pretty far from the Gulf but we’re the largest dealership in the area, we have a big storefront and we’re located on a major highway, and most of all, we’re in oil country. Believe it or not, Midland actually has one of the highest boat registrations per capita in the state because of all these oil workers who have expendable money and lake houses to park their boats at. It’s all about knowing your audience and customer base.”
On the land side of their product offerings, Midland Powersports dove deep into the ATV and side-by-side market in recent years.
“It’s seasonal but the consistent theme is heavy off-road and side-by-side vehicles. We’re an incredibly high-volume Can-Am dealer – I think one of the largest in Texas. They’re our bread and butter and they just work really well, they’re definitely the best brand in that segment. It also helps that Can-Am is able to provide the most – we get the most product from them and are able to keep our stock up well. Our Kawasaki Mules sell really good too.”
As for two-wheeled (and three-wheeled) offerings, Midland sells Hondas, Can-Am Spiders, Husqvarnas, Kawasakis, Suzukis, Kayos and a large volume of used Harley-Davidsons. It’s also broken out into the lawn care market, where it sells Bad Boy Mowers.
To provide an exceptional service experience, Heller invested in upgrading Midland Powersports’ facility and resources. The dealership expanded its building, adding a completely separate PDI (pre-delivery inspection) room and receiving room.
More space, additional lifts and processes means more staff. Around 2018, the dealership was operating with 15 to 18 employees. That number has since reached 30.
What sets Midland Powersports apart from its competitors is its unwavering commitment to exceptional customer service. Heller firmly believes in building strong relationships with customers, going above and beyond to exceed their expectations.
“We strive to create a welcoming atmosphere where customers feel valued and respected. We want them to have a great experience from the moment they walk through our doors.”
The dealership’s emphasis on personalized service and attention to detail has earned them a loyal customer base. Heller notes that because the powersports industry is a “want” not “need” industry, unlike the automotive industry, dealerships need to work harder to build trust through honest sales and representation of products.
Jason explained that to provide good customer service, you first have to have a well-oiled machine behind closed doors. Without tightly wrapped processes for maintaining the shop stock, service, etc., it’s impossible to give the customer proper assistance.
“We use ZiiDMS as our Dealer Management System (DMS), and we were actually a beta test for them initially. We were using a different software before that but it was somewhat outdated and provided horrible customer service. ZiiDMS is super user friendly and they’re always helpful when we need a certain report or have a technical question.”
ZiiDMS is a dealer management system designed for powersports dealerships, offering a range of features to streamline operations and enhance customer satisfaction. It provides real-time inventory management, enabling dealerships to track stock levels, make informed purchasing decisions and sync inventory with manufacturers and distributors.
The software also supports sales management, service and parts management, and customer relationship management, allowing dealerships to optimize sales strategies, streamline service workflows and provide personalized customer experiences.
Heller acknowledges the ever-evolving nature of the powersports industry and the need to adapt to new trends and opportunities.
“The powersports industry is constantly evolving, and we need to adapt and stay ahead of the curve,” he says. “We’re always exploring new opportunities and trends to provide the best products and experiences for our customers.”
With a forward-thinking approach, Midland Powersports actively embraces technological advancements and industry innovations to enhance its offerings and stay at the forefront of the market.
One of the core pillars of Midland Powersports’ success is its dedicated team of knowledgeable and passionate staff. Heller recognizes the importance of investing in his employees, ensuring they receive ongoing training and stay updated with the latest industry developments.
“We have a fantastic team that shares our vision and values,” he notes. “We invest in their training and development to ensure they have the expertise to guide and assist our customers effectively.”
As Midland Powersports continues to thrive, Heller remains focused on the future. He envisions further expansion and growth opportunities while maintaining the dealership’s core values and customer-centric approach.
“We have exciting plans for the future, including expanding our product offerings and exploring new markets,” Heller says. “However, our commitment to exceptional service and customer satisfaction will always remain unchanged. It’s not just about selling products; it’s about creating memorable experiences and building lifelong connections. That’s what powersports is all about. To be successful in this industry, you need to be passionate about it.”