403 Second Street
Manchester, NH 03103
10,000-sq.-ft. facility founded as a Honda dealership in 1968, but sold bicycles for many years prior. Carries Honda and Ducati. Largest-selling segment is streetbike, since Nault’s is
in the city, with ATVs a strong second. 30 employees.
Brian Burris, General Manager, worked at another Honda dealership in Laconia (40 minutes north) for 25 years before joining Nault’s. “These are purchases of want rather than need, so if people’s expendable income gets tight, this might be an area where they cut back. But Honda, in particular, seems to build the models people want. There’s a great variety — cruisers, touring bikes, performance — a model that would please almost anybody. As long as everyone remains economically healthy, businesses will continue to grow.”
Hot at Nault’s: the Honda Shadow 750 and CBR 600, plus the Ducati 998. “We have a very nice helmet display here with Arai, HJC, and a couple of other brands. A lot of Ducati riders want the matching Genuine Ducati jacket and other apparel.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Burris says the typical customer is 30 to 50 years old. “They seem to be at the peak of their earning curve. Over the last few years the kids have gotten old enough to be left at home or have gone to college, combined with money being more readily available. So we’re seeing a lot of people in that age group either getting into bikes or coming back after raising a family.”
“With widespread ATV sales, the land-use issue is always a concern,” says Burris. “In New Hampshire the ATV riders sometimes battle it out with the snowmobilers as to who can ride on which trails. Insurance is always a concern, but in New Hampshire we’re in pretty good shape. Massachusetts, our neighbor to the south, has a no-fault policy — even for automobiles — so everybody pays a pretty hefty premiu. In New Hampshire, it’s much more affordable.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
The Service Department consists of six Technicians, a small crew for setup and assembly, plus a Service Manager and a Service Writer. “We attract a lot of the performance crowd — racers who want to dyno-tune their machines,” notes Burris. “I can’t think of another New Hampshire dealer who offers that. Once a year we have a shootout so people can measure the horsepower of their machines and win a trophy; we get a really good turnout.” New Hampshire International Speedway is just 40 minutes away in Loudon.
WORDS OF ADVICE
Burris believes the best skill for a dealer to have is people management — “not only for the customers, but of equal importance, for the employees. This is a business that markets to and is run by enthusiasts. Both the customers and the employees want to feel like they’re part of the whole operation and are having a good time.
“If you can manage your fellow employees well — keep them motivated and part of the team — that will rub off on your customers. Your dealership becomes not just a place to lay down money, but a place to feel part of.”