1400 East County Road E
White Bear Lake, Minn. 55110
Ron Glassman and Tom Bennet
In 1971, Tom Bennet and Ron Glassman were running Tousley Ford in a St. Paul, Minn., suburb when they joined with Larry Koch and founded Tousley Motorsports. “It was an exciting, fast-moving business, with lots of potential,” Koch said. At the time, the dealers offered products such as Swinger and Motoski snowmobiles and there were only three employees. Today, Tousley Motorsports has about 80 employees and Koch has retired, although he still acts as a consultant to the company. Tousley has revised and expanded its product offerings to Arctic Cat, BRP, Honda and Yamaha. The dealership still carries snowmobiles, as well as ATVs, personal watercraft, motorcycles, scooters and utility vehicles.
Koch says his top two concerns are finding good and dedicated employees and legislation that affects powersports. Tousley is proactive on both fronts. It puts out advertisements for employees often and workers are always looking for qualified people. The dealership also is involved in state associations that encourage legislators to support pro-powersports legislation.
“Two-up ATVs are very hot,” Koch said. “Motorcycles are very hot because of the savings of fuel and scooters are starting to pick up, definitely because of fuel. In reality, you can almost get a scooter for free if you can drive it to work and park your gas-guzzling truck.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
In Minnesota, buying trends follow the seasons: motorcycles sell well in the spring and slow down in the fall. Then in November, snowmobile sales start picking up. ATV sales are the exception, Koch said. They sell year-round.
PARTS AND SERVICE
“Our parts strategy is to have a lot of [parts] in stock and sell them at a very fair, competitive price,” Koch said. “Service is a big part of our business. We try to service our customers first. We usually have between 12 and 15 techs and we offer instant service for tire and oil changes.”
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Tousley Motorsports has grown in the eyes of customers and non-customers alike for having available meeting space for riding groups, Koch said. “We have a lot of clubs that meet here,” he said. “There’s an influx of riders almost every other night. We’re in the process of expanding our meeting rooms so we can have more clubs meeting here.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Keep focused on what you do the best,” Koch said. “Pick a particular thing and focus on it and stay focused. Don’t try to be everything to all people.”
— Lisa Young
Copyright 2006 Powersports Business