Gorham, ME 04038
Calvin Reynolds and Scott Lyons
28,000-sq.-ft. dealership founded in 1961. “We started out with Ski-Doo, and have been a Honda dealer for 40 years,” says Mike Gilbert, general manager. Carries the full lines of Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Bombardier (except Ski-Doo), plus E-Ton ATVs. Also two additional dealerships: North Country Harley/Honda in Augusta, Maine, and Big Moose Harley-Davidson in Portland, Maine. Largest-selling segment is ATV. 27 employees at the Gorham dealership.
Gilbert’s greatest concern is the economy and how that affects business. “With people shopping more for interest rates and prices, some dealers are focusing on the wrong concerns — they’re dropping prices rather than informing customers.
“It’s the domino effect — if one dealer lowers his price, then another lowers his more, and so on. Our biggest focus is not getting caught up in that swirl. We hold our prices and profit margins, and provide the customer with high-quality service, selection, parts, and after-sale products.”
The hot ATVs at Reynolds include the Yamaha Grizzly, the Honda Rancher, and the Honda Rincon. The Yamaha RX1 Warrior (1000cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke) is the sizzling snowmobile. Gilbert calls Reynolds “a big cruiser dealership,” and sells many Honda 750 Spirit and Yamaha V-Star models. In dirtbikes, hot sellers include the Honda XR lineup and the Yamaha TTR models, while four-strokes dominate Reynolds’ used dirtbike inventory.
Parts Manager Scott Luxton says the best-selling accessories include Joe Rocket leather and textile riding gear, HJC helmets, KBC helmets, Thor riding gear, Answer riding gear, and Cold Wave snowmobile gear.
In hard parts, Luxton sells a lot of Cobra exhausts, Vance and Hines exhausts, Kuryakin show chrome, and Dunlop and Metzler tires. “We advertise in Wing World magazine and ship nationwide,” says Luxton of the dealership that calls itself “Gold Wing specialists.” Right now the ‘Wingers are buying battery tenders.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“Our dealership is 15 miles outside of Portland, the biggest city in Maine, so it’s rural,” says Gilbert. “We actually draw from everywhere. In motorcycle sales, I’m seeing more married-with-children customers in their mid-30s. But ATV, dirtbike, and snowmobile customers are all over the board.
“I’ve seen more financing, but the real trend in the past two years is the educated buyer. Before it was, ‘Tell me all about the bike.’ Now it’s, ‘Okay, I’ve picked out the bike I want — tell me about interest, warranty, payments, terms.’
“We’ve worked closely with our lending institutions to adjust interest rates and be competitive internally, rather than send people to their own credit unions. We make it easier for the buyer.”
“Several cities are organizing noise ordinances specifically targeted at motorcycle exhaust decibel levels,” notes Gilbert. “A number of bills are in front of the Maine State Legislature regulating ATV usage, such as the location and time of year they can be operated. Spring in Maine tends to be ‘mud season.’ Some organizations going against powersports users say, ‘Using an ATV during spring can be harmful to the environment.’
“We don’t have well-organized ATV clubs, although they are slowly starting to appear. In Maine, many snowmobile clubs are actively involved in legislation. ATV clubs are where snowmobile clubs were 10 years ago.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Reynolds has six persons in the parts department, plus a service manager, two service writers, and four technicians.
With so many marques, is it hard to keep up with service training? “It is, but Tami Cox, our service manager, does a good job staying on top of who needs what training — making sure that neither our experienced techs nor the new ones get left behind.
“One tech is from Florida and his specialty is watercraft; another can do trike conversions. But we aren’t brand-specific. All techs are cross-trained on all brands.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Stay consistent,” advises Gilbert. “Don’t get caught up in the swirl. Regardless of what happens with the economy or with business, stay focused on your business plan.”
Copyright 2004 Powersports Business