13140 Iris Way
Eagle River, AK 99577
Hal and Geraldine Cronquist
8,000-sq.-ft. dealership on four acres, founded at the current location in 1984. Carries Bombardier’s full line — Sea-Doo PWC and jet boats, Bombardier ATVs, and Ski-Doo snowmobiles — plus Kawasaki’s full line. Largest-selling segment is snowmobile. An additional location is in Wassilla, Alaska, 20 miles away.
“It seems as though we’re always fighting to keep riding areas that the environmental people are trying to take away, particularly with watercraft,” says Hal Cronquist. “They closed Kachemak Bay to personal watercraft. Extremists are burning boats on the water.”
When Powersports Business spoke with Cronquist, the dealership was completely sold out of every watercraft — 50 units this year. The hot seller was the Sea-Doo RXP two-seater musclecraft. The leading ATV was Kawasaki’s Brute Force, the Ski-Doo Summit Rev beat other snowmobiles, and the Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 big cruiser was a good seller.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Cronquist says his average customer is 45 years of age, except for dirtbike buyers, which are younger. “The trend in four-wheelers is larger-displacement engines. I’d say the same thing about watercraft. Watercraft buyers have certainly gone more to the three-seaters.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Team CC has three staffers in parts and six in service, including one service writer and one manager. “It’s very, very tough to find people,” notes Cronquist. “Many people believe when they graduate (from a service school) that they are a B Tech right off the bat, even without experience.”
Cronquist also has a problem with OEM rates. “Our flat rate, compared to the automotive industry, is really poor. We need to get our flat rate times up so we can pay our mechanics a decent wage. The OEMs think that if we have a tech with $30,000 worth of tools, he’s doing really well if he can turn 80%. The OEMs say that when they make the flat rates, that it’s based on hand tools. Every tech here has air tools, yet they can’t make it. Why should the manufacturer only pay 80% of the time that the tech has actually put into the job?”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“The flat-rate issue is something we should all look at,” advises Cronquist. “There isn’t a service department in this country that can say it’s really making money in the back room.” Cronquist says.