1207 Highway 35
Neptune, NJ 07753
5,000-sq.-ft. dealership on 10,000-sq.-ft. lot. “My grandparents originated the motorcycle business in north Jersey 70 years ago,” says John Wehrle, Evelyn’s son (general manager and future partner), “then we relocated here in 1963.” Carries exclusively Yamaha products. Largest-selling segment is ATV, but motorcycle and PWC are close. 14 employees.
“My greatest concern is the economy,” says Wehrle, “although I’ve always held the theory — and it holds true no matter how bad times get — that we sell enjoyment, a way to relieve stress.”
“Three-seater watercraft are the number-one sellers,” notes Wehrle. “The new FX140 with four-stroke technology is coming on strong.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“Grandparents buy jet boats and watercraft for their grandkids to play with,” says Wehrle. “Middle-aged folks who have kids — the average, hardworking family — want to enjoy themselves. The ATV customer is more youthful and single. Family-oriented people and older people whose kids are grown buy ATVs to go hunting and use around the house.”
Stumpy’s customers tend to accessorize their vehicles right away. “If you have the accessories to offer, it becomes exciting right from the beginning,” notes Wehrle. “We display brand-new bikes and ATVs fully dressed with the smorgasbord of accessories. Sometimes people say, ‘I’ll take it just the way it sits there.’ They can take it home before they change their minds.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Stumpy’s has two service technicians and four setup technicians. “We try to keep at least one or two of each model completely prepped, ready to roll out the door instantly,” says Wehrle. “It’s tough to find really good service help. One technician is paid on commission and has been with us four years. He works in a separate facility across the highway and does nothing but serious mechanical work.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“You have to show every customer a good time,” advises Wehrle. “Make them laugh — kid around with them to establish a relationship right off the bat. My first comment — which people least expect — is, ‘Doing a little toy shopping, are you?’ That breaks the ice immediately. They get a little chuckle going.
“The typical, ‘Can I help you?’ puts them on the defensive.”