There’s something about spring when it finally arrives and you live in a climate where you haven’t seen your lawn in more than three months. And it’s more than in the air for a lot of powersports dealers, too. Being more of a kinesthetic-kind-of-guy rather than a rational-numbers-guy, you can feel spring in everything from the food you eat to the sports you watch and the parts and vehicles you stock up on. Subsequently, the numbers reveal a lot of reasons to be upbeat about spring as well.
In this issue you will find the results from our second annual Powersports Industry Profile (see page 26). And while there are no huge breakthroughs for most dealers, there aren’t any major pitfalls either. A number of things strike me about this year’s study, and remember, I’m not a numbers guy: More shops have been able to convert larger average ticket items than in the previous year.
To me, that says that more of you are doing things right and that the ratchet strap around your customers’ wallets is beginning to loosen again. It looks like you’re doing the little things to get the customers coming in the door. But it also looks like, and correct me if I’m wrong, many of you are also still having some sleepless nights worrying about business. You are worried about profitability and how you are going to make it and keep it.
You are worried that your once loyal customer is going to find some great deal on the Internet and leave you like a bad date: no call, no letter and no forwarding address. These are legitimate worries, but ones I suspect you will always have even when business is up significantly. It’s innate as a business owner or manager to worry. One of the things you aren’t too worried about, according to the survey is mass merchandisers or even other powersports dealers.
I think that brick and mortar businesses are always worried that someone is undercutting you on the Internet, and they probably are. But what they can’t offer is that touchy-feely thing you do with your inviting showrooms and cool-to-the-touch goodies. I walk by a rack of helmets and I want to try them all on. Some people collect shoes, I like helmets and gloves.
Finally, the big winner of the Kindle Fire HDX was Charles Smith, owner of Smith Marine, LLC in New Britain, Pa. Charles says that business has been up this year with all of his product lines. The snow had a lot to do with it we suspect as he sells quite a few Ski-Doo snowmobiles along with other BRP products. Smith Marine has been in business since 1947. Very impressive! Congrats to Charles!