8877 North Washington Street
Denver, CO 80229
36,000-sq.-ft. Sun Harley-Davidson/Buell and 44,000-sq.-ft. Sun Enterprises were founded in 1971 at the present location. Sun Enterprises carries Honda (including power equipment), Kawasaki, Polaris, KTM, and Premier pontoon boats. Largest-selling segment is streetbike (Harley-Davidson, Honda, and Kawasaki combined). About 100 employees.
“Insurance for young riders has been an ongoing issue for the last several years,” says Dave Waggoner, general manager. “As we know, younger guys want the fast, sporty bikes-and they’re usually more expensive to insure. Getting young people financed and insured continues to be a huge obstacle, and they go hand-in hand. Often we’ll caution the young man: ‘You need to check on insurance before signing too many documents.’”
Sizzling at Sun Enterprises: most of the Harley-Davidson models and the Honda VTX 1800 cruiser. Hot ATVs include the Honda Rincon and Rubicon. As for personal watercraft, “sales have gone from 350 units in the late 1990s to probably 65 today,” says Waggoner. “Helmets and riding gear are probably the greatest number of pieces sold. We carry Arai, Shoei, and some less-expensive brands.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Waggoner says Sun’s sizable off-road/motocross race team attracts younger people to the dealership. “In the sportbike scene we’re looking at 18-to-24-year-olds. Then we do a big Gold Wing business, and that’s a little older demographic.” A trend he has spotted: “More people look at that monthly payment versus the overall purchase price.”
“In Colorado it’s a year-to-year struggle to keep riding areas opened,” says Waggoner. “National forest areas are being closed to off-road use. From our location customers can get to the mountains in 45 minutes.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Sun Enterprises has eight Harley-Davidson technicians, and 12 cross-trained techs for the import side. “KTM is a relatively new franchise for us-two years-so we’ve sent a couple of young men for special update training,” says Waggoner. In parts there are 10 staffers for the import business and seven for Harley-Davidson.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
“We advertise most aggressively in the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News,” says Waggoner. “Motorcycle people are ‘trained’ to read these newspapers on Saturday mornings, so most of the dealers advertise most heavily then. We also use cable television, direct mail pieces, and displays at off-site events.” The Thornton HOG chapter meets at Sun Enterprises, and produces a newsletter. “We also send direct-mail pieces to the HOG members five times per year,” adds Waggoner. “We give the most support to motocross, and we also have some enduro riders on the Sun Racing Team.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“The first piece of direction that I received from the owners was, ‘Do what’s right,’” explains Waggoner. “Part of my job function is to talk with people who have not been taken care of and resolve those issues. Our salespeople are to be straight up with customers. The owner group is comprised of fine Christian men. We think we’re a little bit different.”
— Julie Filatoff
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