Robertson’s Power & Sports
733 Lebanon Street
Sanford, ME 04073
6,200-sq.-ft dealership (2,800-sq.-ft. showroom, 2,400-sq.-ft. service area, 1,000-sq.-ft. parts area) founded in 1988 at the present location. Carries Bombardier ATVs, Sea-Doo personal watercraft and sport boats, and Ski-Doo snowmobiles; Polaris snowmobiles and ATVs; Suzuki motorcycles, ATVs, and dirtbikes; and Rave water trampolines. Largest-selling segment is ATV, snowmobile, motorcycle, and watercraft, in that order. Nine employees.
“The weather affects us first, then the economy second,” says Robertson. “We have not gotten snow this year and didn’t last year. Typically what happens is that if we don’t have snow the year before, we don’t have great pre-season sales. We needed a white Christmas in 2004, but didn’t get snow until the middle of January. People are riding, but it’s really not enough snow. And when the banks stop lending money-when they start tightening up their belts-that affects sales, too.”
Sleds that are racing away at Robertson’s: the Ski-Doo Rev and the Polaris Fusion. Hot ATVs include the Bombardier Outlander Maxx two-up, and the Polaris Sportsman 400, 500, 600, 700, and 800, plus the Suzuki King Quad 700. Sizzling streetbikes include the Suzuki Boulevard line of cruisers and GSXR sportbikes.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“There is more financing because products are more expensive,” says Robertson. “Fewer people just have the money in their pocket, so they’re going through the manufacturers’ promotions or our financing through local banks.” Are customers buying most of their accessories at time of vehicle sale? “For snowmobiles and ATVs, yes. Our motorcycle customers come back afterward.” The dealership bills itself as “Southern Maine’s Adult Toy Store.”
“They’re always talking about closing lakes to personal watercraft,” notes Robertson, “so we’re always fighting that. Now there are issues with ATVs and private landowners. Our dealership is involved with all the local snowmobile and ATV clubs-for example, we service their club machines and donate the use of equipment so they can clear trails.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Robertson’s has five service technicians, one service writer, and two dedicated parts salespeople. “Parts is a huge part of our dealership’s success,” notes Robertson. “Almost everything revolves around the parts department, which sells to the service department, the retail customer, and the vehicle sales guys.”
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Robertson’s advertises on radio and television, in the newspaper, and through direct mail. “We get involved in all of the manufacturers’ programs,” notes Robertson. The dealership has sponsored racers in the past, but not at this time.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Hold your pricing,” advises Robertson. “Don’t let the manufacturers jam units down your throat. That’s always the issue: Dealers are afraid of paying interest on units, so the minute the vehicles become interest-bearing, they start lowering prices. A customer is a customer; they’ll buy it if they want it.”
— Julie Filatoff
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