458 Scott Highway
Groton, VT 05046
8,500 sq. ft. dealership founded in 1996. In eastern Vermont near Montpelier and the Vermont/New Hampshire border. Carries Polaris snowmobiles, ATVs, and Ranger utility vehicles; Glastron ski boats; Starcraft fishing, glass, and pontoon boats; and four lines of trailers — Floe, Sno-Pro, P.A.S., and Polaris. Largest-selling segment is snowmobile, but ATV is catching up. Nine employees.
Lavoie’s greatest concern with ATVs is getting land opened up for our use is my greatest concern. And the economy, obviously.”
“The Pro-X series of snowmobiles — the 440, 600, 700, and 800 — is selling really well this year,” says Lavoie, “and the Classic and Classic Touring models are, too. In ATVs, all of the Sportsman models are hot.” Trailside Enterprise stocks both Polaris and aftermarket gear, and sells a lot of clothing — especially boots, gloves, and helmets.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Lavoie says his clientele varies greatly. They use their ATVs for “a little bit of everything — recreation, hunting, and working on their property.”
“Establishing a trail system for ATVs is a problem,” says Lavoie. “Two of the guys who work for me started a club last spring, so that’s helped.” The Sleeping Sentinels ATV Club, as its called, has “several hundred miles of ATV trails open for riding use.” A valid ATV registration is required to become a member.
PARTS AND SERVICE
Trailside has three service technicians, three parts counter people, “and I do whatever needs to be done,” says Lavoie. “We just enlarged our showroom and moved our parts department into a bigger room.” Trailside Enterprise boasts “one of the largest parts and accessory inventories in New England,” and is happy to order parts (Yamaha, Arctic Cat, Ski-Doo, and Polaris) if not in stock. The dealership will also store sleds, $100 each for an entire season.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Trailside Enterprise advertises in the state publications, newspapers, weekly “shopper” publications, and on radio. “We only send out direct mail for special events,” says Lavoie — usually two each year.
When we spoke, Trailside Enterprise had three promotional options on a Sportsman 500 4x4 ATV: 1) Zero down and low payments for 24 months; 2) Free winch included; 3) A “low, low” cash price.