Snake River Yamaha
2957 E. Fairview Ave.
Meridian, Idaho 83642
Curtis Moore, Barry Goff, Steve Goff, Mike Goff
Snake River Yamaha, a single-line dealership, moved away from its Boise location in 1998 and bought and remodeled a 18,000-square-foot building in Meridian, located a few minutes away from Idaho’s capital city. Half of the Snake River store is used for retail and the other half serves as the service department and warehouse area. Snake River carries a full line of Yamaha products with the exception of sport boats. The dealership has about 45 employees, a number that can fluctuate with the season.
Mounting land-use restrictions concern Curtis Moore, one of the dealership’s four owners. “I understand there is a place” for land to be set aside for natural resources, Moore said, “but it seems to be happening a lot in Idaho. It’s really cutting down on the area of use for the product we sell.” That’s especially been the case with restrictions on ATV and hunting. Hunters can only use ATVs during restricted times in the afternoon, a vast change from years past. As a result, Moore said “we don’t have a hunting rush in our business. It’s not what it used to be.”
At one time, it was ATV sales, which made up at least 40 percent of the dealership’s sales, Moore said. “Now that’s changed,” he said. “We’re a huge motorcycle dealer. “ Cruiser sales have especially taken off, slowing only during the winter. “As soon as we get the first clear sunny day in spring, usually mid-February, they really start to take off again,” Moore said of cruiser sales.
Customer Buying Trends
The women’s cruiser segment is “booming,” Moore said. So much so that the dealership, which doesn’t have a lot of retail room at 9,000 square feet, has expanded its women’s accessories area.
Parts and Service
Snake River Yamaha offers a three-year prepaid maintenance program for new bike buyers. The program, which is nontransferable, offers discount service rates plus the guarantee that new bike buyers will get serviced within 48 hours. That part can be key as the service department can get backed up three to four weeks in the summer, Moore said. “It ties that customer to your dealership for three years,” Moore said of the program, which can lead to additional PG&A sales as customers wait for their service to be completed. The program also can be a money maker if consumers ignore their maintenance schedule. But if they don’t, it’s often a break-even program, Moore said.
Promotional Home Runs
The dealership has seen big dividends from a partnership with a local street bike group. The riding group holds two events per year, one in the spring and one in the fall, at the dealership, which pays the expenses of feeding about 150 people each time. The dealership also gives a 15 percent accessories discount to a certain segment of the club’s membership. In return, Moore said he has sold dozens of bikes to the club and sees incredible loyalty by club members. “This is kind of like a bike home for them,” Moore said. The dealership also has a similar program with an ATV riding club.
Words of advice
“They can buy this stuff anywhere,” Moore said of powersports products, especially regarding the Internet competition. “You need to give the customer a reason to come to your store and buy it from you. And it all comes down to customer service. That same comment has been around forever, but so many of us tend to forget that or let it slide by and wonder what happens to our business. It’s something that needs to stay in the forefront.”
Snake River Yamaha – Meridian, ID – Nov. 13, 2006