Central Vermont Motorcycles
360 West St.
Rutland, Vt. 05701
Charles Coughlin and Sherree Harvey
Jay Uger was a general manager in the automobile industry before he made the switch to powersports. Coughlin and Harvey acquired the dealership in June 2002 and asked Uger a lot of questions about running a dealership. They trusted his judgment enough to make him general manager of Central Vermont. Together, they renovated and expanded the showroom to 12,500 square feet and have added franchises every year. So far, Arctic Cat, Honda, Kawasaki, BRP and Suzuki comprise the dealership’s brands. In addition to motorcycles, Central Vermont carries ATVs, snowmobiles, personal watercraft, power equipment and trailers. The dealership is situated on four acres, two of which are devoted to a test track where customers try out ATVs and snowmobiles. The track also is nationally certified for ATV enthusiasts and off-road motorcyclists. Central Vermont Motorcycles employs 19 people full-time.
Like many dealers, Uger is concerned about access to sufficient riding areas for his customers. “Lack of riding space for dirt bikes is our biggest concern,” he said. “ATV (riding areas) are getting better. There are 18 riding clubs in the state and sanctioned trails.”
Sales follow the weather, Uger said. “December was fantastic with snowmobiles, but then it started raining and we didn’t get any snow until (the weekend of Feb. 25),” he said. “When there’s no snow, ATVs are strong. Accessories have had very strong sales.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“We’re in the heart of the ski areas, so we (sell to) a lot of nonresidents who have vacation homes, winter and summer vacation places,” Uger said. “It’s a rural setting, kind of. I want to say we have a good mix of customers.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Parts and service brought more than $1 million in revenue for the dealership last year, Uger said. Three of the dealership’s service technicians are master-certified. Staying on top of certification programs is one of the dealership’s top priorities, Uger said.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Central Vermont is an aggressive advertiser, Uger said. The dealership focuses primarily on television, but also does some radio work. As for events, Uger is eager for any occasion where people can see and try the machines out in person. “Last winter we had demo days with snowmobiles,” Uger said. “We had the four strokes out there and people drove them. Every summer we do a grand opening. We gave away an ATV. Last year was good; two weeks after the giveaway, we did a lot of business.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“We try to take advantage of every customer that comes through the door and try to make every sale possible,” Uger said. “I guess that’s how we end up a volume dealer. Some ask for a profit, but we take what we can get.”
— Lisa Young
Copyright 2006 Powersports Business