4915 North Northview Ave.
Sioux Falls, S.D., 57107
Although MidAmerica Motoplex had been around for more than a decade before Jeff Johnson bought it, South Dakotans have known the dealership’s current incarnation since 2001. The dealership, which sells Honda, Kawasaki, Polaris, Schwinn, Sea-Doo, Ski-Doo and Yamaha products, is located in a 47,000-square-foot facility that was built in the fall of 2003 off Interstate 29 in Sioux Falls. Although Johnson was looking to own his own business, he hadn’t initially considered a powersports dealership when he was researching potential endeavors five years ago. The fun aspect of selling powersports, as well as the business model and being close to his family, made a dealership stand out.
Customers can find ATVs, motorcycles, scooters, snowmobiles, utility vehicles and personal watercraft at the store, which typically employs 30 people.
Johnson cites maintaining a healthy economy as one of his top concerns for the motorcycle portion of his business. He hopes “people continue to have the discretionary income that will allow them to buy,” Johnson said. “[Consumers] have to have a car. Motorcycles are more like a want rather than a need.”
On the ATV side, the economy is also at the root of his concerns. As ATV riding areas are far away, the majority of Johnson’s ATV business is from farmers. He hopes those involved in agriculture continue to have successful businesses, because “if the price of cattle goes down or there is a drought, then they stop spending money,” Johnson said.
“Street bikes are just on fire and that’s been that way for the last couple of years,” Johnson said. “[Street bike sales are] growing and growing strong; across all segments of street bikes: small to big.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
“It comes back to having the right product for the customers and that means that we have fully stocked departments,” Johnson said. “People don’t want to come in and order something from a catalog. They want to buy it that day and try it on. We treat [our store] like a retail store. We’ve devoted over 35 percent of the show floor to [clothing]. The high school and young adult crowd know that this is the place to get clothing. We have a better selection than places at the mall that carry it.”
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Last spring, MidAmerica Motoplex held the Wing Thing just for Honda Gold Wing riders. The dealership sent out more than 1,000 invitations and had hundreds show up for the event. Johnson and business partner Brad Snyders spent the day grilling wings on a huge grill for customers, who could take time to talk with manufacturer representatives and enjoy other activities.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Manage your inventory and hold your margin,” Johnson said.
— Lisa Young
Copyright 2006 Powersports Business