87 Park Street
Beverly, MA 01915
3,000 sq. ft. dealership founded in 1971 at the present location. Carries Ducati, MV Agusta, Malaguti, and was just approved for a Benelli franchise. Six employees.
“Right now — obviously — the economy is just bad,” says Randy Pawlyk, general manager. “The first thing that people don’t buy when the economy goes bad is a toy. Legislation is catching up with the motorcycle industry—for example, with mandatory helmet laws and EPA restrictions—but not as much as it has with cars.”
Shining at Eastern: the powerful new four-valve Ducatis. “The MV Agusta F4 is always desirable,” says Pawlyk. “That’s a year-round seller for us.” Also hot: Ducati performance parts — exhaust systems, fuel-mapping chips — and carbon-fiber body panels.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Pawlyk estimates that the average Eastern Cycle Ducati customer is 25 to 28 years old, a young professional with a good income, married or single. He has been with the dealership five years and says, “The first couple of years we had a lot of trade-ins and financing. The last couple of years there have been many cash sales. This year, so far, we’re back to financing, but I think it’s just because the economy is flat right now.”
“I know the dirtbike industry is having all kinds of headaches, but we don’t deal with anything like that,” says Pawlyk. “We’re a very small niche in the powersports industry. The Japanese-brand dealers get in every 18-year-old male out there to buy a bike. The customer
for high-end Italian bikes is different — the same customer who would buy a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. We like to think of it as a little more prestigious, a little more sophisticated.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Eastern Cycle Ducati has a service manager and three service technicians — two Ducati-certified, one Moto Guzzi and BMW-certified. Does the dealership service other makes? “Yes, during the slow season, but during summer we only work on the marques we sell,” says Pawlyk. “I act as sales manager and service writer, and I have one full-time, devoted parts salesperson.” Eastern Cycle produces and wholesales two unique parts that it machines itself — handlebar risers for the Ducati Super Sport and a lowering link for the Ducati Monster series.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Eastern Cycle Ducati puts most of its advertising dollars into print — newspapers and several local motorcycle publications — plus some radio.
“We’ve done promotions with a couple of local movie theaters and radio stations, setting up at different venues,” says Pawlyk. “And of course we exhibit at all the motorcycle shows in the area. We’ve been out of racing for about eight years, and are jumping back in with our own team. We started the second half of last season. One of the guys here is campaigning a Ducati 748R in the Loudon Road Racing Series (LRRS).”
The dealership holds two rides (one at the end of May and one in the fall to go leaf-peeping in Vermont), and an open house in mid-May. Pawlyk created Eastern Cycle Ducati’s Web site (since that was his major in college), and it includes current promotions and dealership information.
“We advertise our handlebar risers and lowering links, but we encourage customers to go to their local dealer,” he explains. “Lately we’ve sent out e-newsletters. We stopped sending printed ones a year ago. It gets very expensive, especially as your mailing list grows to almost 1,000 people.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“The customer counts — you must take care of him,” says Pawlyk. “People who spend this kind of money — double what they would on a Japanese bike — expect a certain amount of service. Several larger, mainly Japanese-brand dealers around us also carry Ducati, but they fail to meet those needs. We’re one of the few specialty shops left—and because of that, we get a lot of their former customers. We say, don’t buy the ‘Ferrari of motorcycles’ at a Honda dealership and have Honda mechanics work on it. We run a very informal, traditional shop here, and we take care of our customers.”