587 East Jericho Turnpike,
St. James, N.Y.
120 Main St.
Port Jefferson, N.Y.
Ramp Organization, a company that started in the auto industry, now owns Ford, Chevrolet and Hummer dealerships as well as two powersports stores.
Ramp Motorcycles was opened in 2001 as Indian Motorcycle of Long Island, and was then the world’s largest Indian dealer. When Indian collapsed, the dealership brought on new product lines and renamed the store. Today, Ramp has two stores, a 40,000 square foot facility in St. James, N.Y., and the recently opened Port Jefferson, N.Y. site, a 3,500 square foot apparel store. Ramp currently carries Triumph, Saxon, PCC, BMC, Swift and Vengeance. It also sells used motorcycles, with about 15 percent of the store’s sales being preowned bikes, said Frank Montero, Ramp’s business manager.
Sales of new V-twin bikes have tailed off significantly in the past few months, Montero said. “I think the Northeast customer is more conservative, a more cautious customer,” he said. “What happens in the news will have an effect (on sales). Gas prices will have an effect. I think that’s more present in the Northeast than the rest of the country.”
“In terms of apparel, marketing and branding, I think Triumph is doing the best job,” Montero said. “Their marketing is on the money. They have such an extensive line of clothing, well-made clothing. Their clothes look so cool, you just want to buy it and wear it even if you don’t have a Triumph.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Ramp’s store in Port Jefferson, which opened in July, is located in a high tourist area and sells a number of impulse items, from hats to T-shirts to mugs. And it’s just not men’s and women’s clothing that is selling, but children’s accessories as well. Montero said children sales have extended to helmets.
PARTS AND SERVICE
Ramp Motorcycles offers service for V-twin and metric motorcycles. The dealership has technicians that specialize in either V-twin or metric or both. The St. James dealership also offers a pick up and delivery service. Montero said increased gas prices have forced Ramp to begin charging for that service, depending on where the consumer lives. Ramp, however, does offer consumers a free pick-up service if they purchase a new motorcycle. That service is available to consumers if their motorcycle breaks down during Ramp’s regular business hours. “It’s peace of mind for the consumer,” said Montero. “And I’ll pick you free of charge because that way I’ll get your service work.”
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Ramp has held several charity events, including one for a U.S. soldier that was wounded in Iraq. That event drew about 1,000 riders, Montero said. Most of Ramp’s advertising efforts go to the Web, Montero said. “You’re largest audience is on the Internet,” he said. “With print, you’re restricted to how much you can spend. With radio you’re restricted to how can spend.” On the Internet, Montero said, only your creativity limits you.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“It’s all about customer service. Making it easier for the consumer,” Montero said. “The gentlemen that can afford the big ticket item and afford those repairs doesn’t have the time to bring the bike down, wait for it and to pick it up. So you have to take care of the customer in that aspect. They’ll spend more if you can accommodate them.”
— Neil Pascale
Copyright 2006 Powersports Business