18014 Goodnough Street
Adams Center, NY 13606
Barry and Ellen Waite
12,000-sq.-ft. dealership founded in 1994. Exclusively a full-line Polaris dealer, including Victory motorcycles and Professional Series utility vehicles. Largest-selling segment is ATV, followed by snowmobile. Waite also owns a Toyota dealership seven miles away. 10 employees at the Polaris store, which is next to a Harley-Davidson dealership.
“I think the insurance issue is going to be a real problem,” says Waite. “There needs to be some responsibility that goes back to the individual operating the machine.”
Hot sleds at Waite MotorSports include the “ultimate performance” Polaris Pro X lineup (eight models) and the “performance” XC lineup (four models). Best-selling ATVs include the Sportsman 500cc, 600cc, and 700cc — and, this year, the 400cc, “although that was never a hot seller,” says Waite. The dealership moves a lot of ATV accessories. “We display units on the floor fully accessorized with winches, snowplows, and extended racks.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“We sell to a wide range of people,” says Waite. “Most of our ATV customers are using their units for trail riding. We’re right at the foothills of the Tughill Plateau, and there are a lot of snowmobile and ATV trails up there.” He also sells to the Development Authority of New York, and to Fort Drum.
“Every year, there’s always someone who wants to ban something,” says Waite. “Last year the biggest crisis was when the snowmobile trail systems were shut down for 10 days because of a lack of insurance. ”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Waite has been at its present location — a Polaris Power Store — since 2000. The dealership has six people full-time in parts and service, and all of the technicians attend Polaris schools.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“What has benefited us the most is that we run the Polaris dealership like my automotive store,” says Waite. “We’re completely departmentalized, and every department is responsible for a portion of the overhead and making a profit. Service, parts, finance, sales — everything is a separate business-within-a-business. That makes the business a lot more flexible, and it’s the only way you can really track what goes on in the dealership on a daily basis. Departmentalizing makes dealers stronger.”