Genuine Scooters are known for their high-quality scooters and customer service, and company president Philip McCaleb holds dealers to that same high standard. So when McCaleb recommended I talk to Steve Gigliotti of Scooters Go Green in Boston for this month’s Destination Dealership profile, I knew I had a winner on the line.
“They have a stellar reputation for service and community support with Boston scooterists,” said McCaleb. “They sell to a growing market of those seeking alternative transport — many of those who have chosen a scooter as their primary vehicles.
They do a good job with accessories and have also worked their customer base into insurance packages that allow for replacement vehicles if owners’ bikes are stolen. This is key in Massachusetts, where there is no mandatory insurance law. They are constantly involved in events outside in Boston and can regularly be seen with scooters pulling trailers with signs and also a Stella scooter with a matching sidecar,” he concluded.
The sidecar sold me, and I dialed up Gigliotti straightaway.
Gigliotti (seen in the sidecar in photo at right) started Scooter Go Green with longtime friend Steve Lancione in 2008 (Lancione apparently won the coin toss and got to pilot the Stella in the photo at right). “We saw that Boston is a perfect city to use a scooter to get around. It’s a great city where parking is tough and streets are narrow,” said Gigliotti. “We started the business before gas skyrocketed in 2008, so we really weren’t getting on the high gas bandwagon. But it just kind on happened in that first year.”
Quality Products Matter
When Steve and Steve launched their business, they started offering a few Chinese models but found that the quality of them wasn’t very good.
“Luckily, Steve and I are very passionate about our customer service, so we were running around helping people fix their bikes and making sure there were no complaints,” says Gigliotti. “We just realized that if we’re going to stay in business, we needed to increase to better quality models.
Today, Scooters Go Green carries new Genuine Scooters, SYM, Hyosung and Lance Power Sports models in addition to a full stock of parts and accessories. Their initial commitment to customer service is now backed with equally strong products.
“We’re not going to carry stuff that we can’t get parts for. Everything that we carry is excellent,” said Gigliotti, who went on to tell a story that demonstrates the loyalty that the killer combo of stellar products and customer service can create.
“Toward the end of the season, we had a customer come in. He bought a bike at the beginning of the summer, and he just wanted to come in and let us know it was the best thing he bought all year,” said Gigliotti.
“Our goal is to make sure all of our customers feel this was the best purchase they made all year. Part of doing that is the product itself has to be great. They have to have a great experience during the purchasing process, and they have to have a great followup experience. A lot of times when people buy a bike or a car, they dread going back to the dealer — they feel that they get hosed when they go in there. We want everyone to feel that coming into the shop from the moment they buy the bike to all their service afterwards is a very pleasurable experience.
So we let them know ahead of time what kind of service they are going to expect. So there’s no surprises during the whole process of them being a customer, and all of our customers are really happy.”
A Transportation Alternative
Scooters Go Green is nestled in the heart of south Boston, conveniently located near public transportation. This downtown-adjacent location is very appealing to Steve and Steve’s clientele, many of whom don’t own cars.
Gigliotti says that parking in downtown Boston is a nightmare. He applauds mayor Thomas M. Menino for his focus on green initiatives. “He’s been very supportive of scooters and has launched a series of scooter parking spots,” says Gigliotti. “Sooterists in Boston get parking for 25 cents per hour with unlimited time, so somebody really can commute downtown, park their bike and not have to worry about plugging the meter.”
At a store as small as Scooters Go Green, the advertising budget is always tight, so the guys get innovative when it comes to marketing and community outreach.
“Word of mouth is our main form of advertising,” says Gigliotti, who can be seen zipping around town with the Stella sidecar.
The Scooters Go Green team just launched an easy-to-navigate, consumer-friendly website where riders can learn about both the products the shop offers and news on upcoming events.
The duo most recently donated a scooter to Boston’s Chinatown crime watch team. Steve and Steve are passionate about their local Chinese community as practitioners of Falun Gong meditation, and a portion of all sales go to help persecuted Falun Gong practitioners in China.
It is this dedication to the community at large and customer service in the shop that has led to the continued success of Scooters Go Green. “Whether the gas is high or low, we’re fine with it, because we were able to create a scooter culture,” concluded Gigliotti.