6600 N. 27th St.
Lincoln, Neb. 68521
Star City Motor Sports has been in business in Lincoln since 1963, although at times under changing owners. Robert Kay bought the dealership nine years ago. One of the steps Kay took to grow the business was to build a 64,000-square-foot facility two years ago. The self-labeled largest dealer in Nebraska sells Eton, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Polaris, Sea-Doo, Suzuki and Yamaha products. Star City carries motorcycles, ATVs and personal watercraft. The dealership also sells Sea-Doo and Yamaha boats. Currently, Star City employs 40 people. In the summer, that number swells to about 50, Kay said.
“Sufficient sources of financing for customers,” Kay said. “I’m supposed to say land-use issues, but that isn’t the reality.”
Finding financing can be especially difficult for young riders, Kay said. While they may be interested in getting a bike, many don't have enough credit to hold up in the eyes of bankers.
“All the 'mom and pop' stores that are barely surviving and use discounting as their only sales tool are a huge problem for this industry,” Kay said. “People need training, confidence and business acumen so they can learn to sell based on value and features, not price. This would lead to higher profits for all.”
“Cruiser-style motorcycles,” Kay said. “That’s the case for everybody, I think. Sport bikes are also popular. They seem to be selling just as well.”
As far as accessories go, all sources indicate customers are looking to utilize their ATVs to the fullest as snowplows and winches have been selling well for the dealership early this year.
For Star City, popular products are a reflection of what has always been the key to the hearts of the dealership’s customers. People have, and continue to, come in for cruiser bikes and sport bikes. The two are perpetually hot, Kay said.
PARTS AND SERVICE
Parts and service are as important to his dealership as any other, Kay said. He likens Star City to a plate spinner at a circus; each plate is a different department of the store. If a plate isn’t spinning, it will fall down and break. “You can’t ignore any portion of the business if you’re going to be profitable,” Kay said.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Star City doesn’t hold demo days to attract customers or an open house. Instead, the dealership hosts a customer expo every May. Over a weekend, Kay tries to hold as many events as possible to draw attention to the dealership. Customers have come by the thousands to meet with suppliers and manufacturer representatives, take in live music and eat good food, participate in fund-raisers and check out product.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Join a 20 club and learn how to be profitable,” Kay said. “If you don’t belong to a 20 club, it’s like taking a test and not knowing anyone’s grades. You’re shooting in the dark. I can’t even begin to overstate the importance of being in one.”
— Lisa Young
Star City Motor Sports – Lincoln, NE – March 13, 2006