The name may say Western Power Sports, or WPS as it is commonly known, but it is far from being “only” a western company.
While that may have been the case when WPS originally started as a snowmobile parts and accessories distributor in Utah, Nevada and the Pacific Northwest back in 1960, the company has expanded to become a global phenomenon courtesy of its Fly brand.
Today, WPS distributes more than 130,000 off-road, street, ATV/UTV, snowmobile and watercraft products to thousands of dealers nationwide. And, according to the company, it is the fastest growing powersports distributor in the nation, courtesy of its regional warehouse network with locations in Boise, Idaho; Fresno, California; Memphis, Tennessee; Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania; Ashley, Indiana; and Midlothian, Texas.
Each January, while the Idaho Steelheads hockey team takes a break from playing on their home ice, WPS gathers its network of road representatives and vendors under one roof at the CentruryLink arena in downtown Boise. This year, you could skate to the arena as a snowstorm turned to rain and ice during the National Sales Meeting. But that wasn’t enough to slow WPS’ roll.
Although it’s a privately held, family-owned company, representatives we spoke to were not shy to tell us they had a great year in 2016. While many powersports companies didn’t fare quite as well last year, WPS was heading towards record numbers (whatever they were). We can tell they were good by the number of sales reps who accepted awards for having multi-million dollar a year territories. We won’t tell you how many, though, because we lost count after dinner.
Even with all the success from distinctive house brands, including Fly Racing, HardDrive, Highway 21, Open Trail, Shinko Tires and others, to top aftermarket brands like Yoshimura and Alpinestars (which recently came on board), WPS is still very grounded and down-to-earth like you would expect from a family-run business. And from our perspective of being a family-owned publishing company, it’s familiar territory.
CEO Craig Shoemaker knows his reps and has conversations with them regularly throughout the week. The event is a sales meeting and internal tradeshow rolled into one, with house brands and aftermarket vendors setting up booths throughout the arena. During the awards dinner, Craig acts as part salesman, part cheerleader and MC.
The biggest award of the night was the Territory of the Year, which went to the Southwest team. This group is headed up by frequent MPN Contributor Alex Baylon. You might say he’s got a bit of an unfair advantage having SoCal and Arizona in his territory, but there’s strong competition from other regions to keep him on his toes. The awards recognize the hard work and effort these sales reps put in every day, helping dealers reach their goals.
WPS has instilled a family atmosphere among the company and road reps; most dealers know their reps by their first names, which practically makes them part of your family.