275 8th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
First Kick Scooters bought SF Moto 2.5 years ago; First Kick Scooters is 12 years old. The First Kick side of the store specializes in Vespas - parts and service. The SF Moto side sells Derbi and Malaguti scooters, as well as used and consignment motorcycles, parts and accessories. Fourteen employees, including administration and mechanics. 5,500 sq. ft.
The Parts Manager
Tony Bartholomew is Parts Manager at SF Moto. He has been riding two-wheelers for 15 years and has been working at SF Moto for six.
The Parts Department at SF Moto has two employees, including Bartholomew. The Parts Department accounts for 25% of sales.
“As parts manager, I am responsible for ordering; receiving; cashing out customers for both service and parts departments; forecasting trends; supplying service department with parts; merchandising; and creating an atmosphere that helps customers feel comfortable,” Bartholomew says. “A large portion of our customers are entry-level riders so we spend a lot of time educating them and fitting them with the correct riding gear & accessories to suit their needs.”
The Purchasing Process
All of SF Moto’s purchasing goes through the Lightspeed point of sale/inventory software. “Lightspeed keeps track of what we sell & creates purchase orders based on sales history and or min/max levels that are constantly fine-tuned. Computers aren’t foolproof though, so we do constantly visually check inventory as well.”
Dealing with Distributors
“Most distributors carry very little scooter-oriented products, but we work with most major distributors: Parts, Tucker, Southern, WPS, V & L, Motorcycle stuff, Advantage, Helmet House and many others,” Bartholomew says. “The Parts online ordering system is spectacular. I use that for checking availability, checking backorders, sales history, checking cost/margin, etc. I wish every distributor had this system.
“The weak points of a few distributors are their payment policies w/ dating. I hate distributor reps that come into my shop a couple of times & think they know exactly what I should and should not be selling. I also do not like some of the return policies for certain distributors.
“Restock fees are unnecessary for most of us dealers. I think there should be a certain percentage of returns that each dealer would get based on sales history with that particular distributor without involving a restock fee.”
Hottest items at SF Moto are helmets and riding jackets. “We carry many different brands but we mostly sell helmets in the $100-$150 range.”
SF Moto is “fairly deliberate” with its merchandising. “The flow starts at the door passing new units; then on to used bikes; then to accessories; then, finally, hard parts. All displays are organized in such a way that certain products get special attention (helmets in cubes, jackets on display fixtures), and oils and chemicals are at the very back so you must walk by all the fun, cool stuff to get to the necessities.” Bartholomew gained merchandising experience as a store manager for a music retailer and a motorcycle accessory shop. Bartholomew says he often updates the floor in an effort to see how it affects sales of particular products.
“My biggest challenge as Parts Manager is following parts trails. Where are the parts ordered for this bike in service or how long a customers backordered special order will take, etc. I am trying to keep paper copies of everything even though it is supposedly all in the computer. I have a clipboard system that works pretty well.”