Barney’s of St. Pete
10411 Gandy Blvd.
St. Petersburg FL 33702
Barney’s of Brandon
9820 Adamo Dr
Tampa, FL 33619
Barney’s has two Florida locations, one in St. Petersburg and one in the Tampa Bay area. The St. Petersburg location was rebuilt in October of 2002 after a fire devastated the original building. That site now has two buildings: a 20,000 square foot building that is largely a service facility. Across the street is a 30,000-square-foot showroom, a downstairs area that’s largely used as a parking garage and a 6,000 foot mezzanine. The main story carries Honda, Yamaha, Sea-Doo, Aprilia, E-ton and Vento. The Tampa store, which is about 20,000 square feet, features Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki and E-ton. Between the two stores, Barney’s has about 130 employees. Barney’s St. Pete location also carries jet boats. “That is one of the main things that makes this big store very successful is we’ve been able to capitalize on the boat business.” said K.C. Wood, the owner and president.
“One of the biggest concerns is just the sheer amount of product that’s in the marketplace,” Wood said. “There is a lot of product everywhere.” Wood said OEMs are asking dealers to accept more product even though sales aren’t supporting the call for increased inventory. “Not saying they’re not going down,” Wood said of unit sales in general, “but they seem to have flattened a bit.”
Wood is also concerned about insurance as he’s seen a number of insurance companies pull out of Florida after the spate of hurricanes.
“We’ve had a very good year in the marine division, jet boats and watercraft,” Wood said. “We’ve grown that business this year. The motorcycle business, motorcycles and ATVs, have not been that strong this year. So we’re capitalizing on the marine trend right now just to keep our numbers solvent.” Wood said his PWC sales have increased from last year, particularly Sea-Doo watercraft.
“I would have suspected with fuel prices (increasing) it would be an absolute opposite trend than what we’re seeing on the showroom floor,” Wood said. “That motorcycles would be the thing. And it’s been totally opposite of that. The motorcycles have not been selling that well and the marine stuff, which takes all the fuel and all the extra expendable income, is what people are buying.”
Parts and Service
Wood said Barney’s is considering adding more showroom space for parts and accessories sales. “I really think the accessory business is huge right now and I don’t think in our retail arena we’re capitalizing on what’s really happening in the marketplace,” he said. “There’s so many vendors and so many catalogs that we’re not really opening our eyes to. We’re just going with the major guys and that’s what we sell. We have to break out of that and be more aggressive with it.”
Promotional Home Runs
Barney’s has support events for jet boats and watercraft, held successful track days and hosted customer appreciation days at an off-road park. “Event marketing is definitely the direction the company is going,” Wood said. “Even if we’re not drawing in too many new customers, we’re very much supporting our existing customers. I think that’s where we want to be over time. We’re just trying to get out there and be enthusiasts and not just a retail outlet.”
Words of Advice
“It’s going to be a very careful year to balance the inventory and profitability,” Wood said. “The most important thing that we have to keep in mind is we have to be profitable. We can’t just sell units because they (OEMs) want us to sell units. It’s not just about numbers. It’s about the reason we’re here. For one, we enjoy what we do, and we have to be profitable doing it.”
— Neil Pascale
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Barney’s – St. Petersburg, FL – Oct. 16, 2006