629 Myatt Drive
Madison, TN 37115
Family owned corporation.
America's Motor Sports began as a single line Honda dealer in 1982, purchased by the Watts family. The dealership added Kawasaki to the line in 1985, when the local dealer went out of business. In 1989-90, the Watts family added Sea-Doo to the mix and became the largest volume dealer in middle Tennessee. In 1995 a second store was added that was formerly a single line Suzuki dealership. Immediately, Yamaha and Polaris lines were added to the new store lineup. The two stores operated for quite some time, until the Watts family purchased an existing Yamaha/Kawasaki dealership about 50 miles west of Nashville. Polaris was moved to that location as well. Finally, in 2004, America's Motorsports purchased another Honda/Suzuki dealer in Nashville and moved the original Nashville store to the new facility. Chris Watts, the head of the operation calls the new 38,000 square foot facility the “world wide corporate headquarters.” The main location is comprised of 14,000 retail feet, 14,000 feet for service and 10,000
square feet of warehouse space. The other locations are 12,000 and 9,000 feet, though the smallest store will double in size by the first of next year.
“The biggest challenge is probably retaining and finding good employees,” says Watts. “There is more and more competition between retail outlets. Non-powersport related, [such as] automotive trying to retain good people.”
“On the PWC front the hottest thing we have going is all Sea-Doo four strokes,” says Watts. “And the small 15-foot Sea-Doo jet boats.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“Between all of the product we carry, it's going to range so much,” says Watts. “From young 20-something-year-old kids on sport quads and sport bikes to the baby boomers on a lot of cruisers and larger ATVs. And of course the families on the watercraft.”
“Not really, not in Nashville or middle Tennessee,” says Watts. “We had some land closures a few years ago and that definitely affected our off-road buyer. But since that we don't have any bad publicity in Nashville. We don't have any environmental concerns facing us like we do in other parts of the country. No PWC bans or anything like that.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Between the three stores, America's Motorsports has 12 technicians. Each location has a service manager and two stores have service writers. In parts, there are 13 employees. Watts recently added a parts and service director that the service managers and parts managers report to. “We needed someone managing that segment of the business and trying to bring parts and service a little close together, so we brought it under one person's control instead of six,” says Watts. “We still have the six department managers, but now we have one director that they can report to who reports to me.”
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Watts runs several promotions every year. There are a couple open houses each year between the various locations. In the smaller stores they might draw 100-200 people, but at the main store, crowds of more than 500 are not uncommon. Watts also has high hopes for a parts and accessories expo planned for later this year. They have also had good luck with boat shows and “moderate” luck with PWC on-water demos.
WORDS OF ADVICE
Watts' credo is simple: “Treat people right and keep the overhead low.”