Waukon Power Sports
208 Hwy. 9
South Waukon, Iowa 52172
160 Hwy. 9 SW
Waukon, Iowa 52172
Waukon Harley-Davidson, Buell
208 Hwy. 9
South Waukon, Iowa 52172
LaCrosse Area Harley-Davidson
1116 Oak Forest Drive
Onalaska, Wis. 54650
Harley-Davidson Shop of Winona
1845 Mobile Drive
Winona, Minn. 55987
Irv Fosaaen, who is president of the Iowa stores, and wife Patty Fosaaen, who is president of the Wisconsin and Minnesota stores.
Irv and Patty Fosaaen started in the powersports industry in 1975 with a single location in Waukon, Iowa. They have since added two more dealerships in Waukon and Harley-Davidson shops in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Their original store, which is about 13,000 square feet, houses Yamaha, Polaris and Victory brands. The other metric Waukon store carries Honda and Ski-Doo. The couple’s largest facility, which is 23,000 square feet including a warehouse, is the LaCrossse Harley dealership that also carries Buell. Between the five stores, they have between 85-105 employees, depending on the season.
Irv Fosaaen names liability issues and complying with government regulations, not to mention ensuring his customers do the same, as his top concerns.
Fosaaen said the new ’07 Harley product has received a lot more interest than the ’06 models. He cites the new Fat Boy and FXSTC Softail Custom as two models that have done well. In his metric stores, Fosaaen said Yamaha’s Grizzly 700, Raptor 700 and Rhino 660 all have been top sellers. So far, Yamaha’s Phazer is the only sled that he’s seeing any interest in.
Customer Buying Trends
“We saw there was a real uptick in people going for the higher-end product,” Fosaaen said. In 2005, he said the Softail standard and the Electra Glide standard were big sellers. That hasn’t been the case this year, he said, as higher-end, full-feature motorcycles have been the big movers.
Fosaaen has seen a similar trend in his metric stores where low-end ATVs, like Polaris’ Hawkeye, have done poorly whereas high-end 700cc and 800cc quads have done much better. “The low end of the market didn’t do very well at all,” he said, noting even 50cc and 100cc bike sales have been flat.
The competition market, especially two-stroke motocross bikes, also has had an off year, Fosaaen said.
Parts and Service
New or used vehicle buyers at Fosaaen’s stores are given a Hog Cash card for one year. Each time the consumer purchases something, 10 percent of the value of their purchase goes on the card, meaning they can spend that amount on their next purchase or save it for a big, future purchase. The program, Fosaaen said, keeps “us out of giving away margin on P&A sales on everybody that comes in the door.” Plus, “I think it’s much better than giving people a regular discount, which people don’t see as a great deal anyway.” Consumers can use the cash card at any of Fosaaen’s five stores.
Promotional Home Runs
Fosaaen believes his bike-tradeout programs with area radio stations have worked well. In a recent such program, Fosaaen traded a new Harley-Davidson Night Train to a radio station, which gave him the retail value of the bike in advertising. The radio station then did a summer-long campaign where they hosted about 100 open houses throughout the area, giving away a key that could possibly start the new bike at each event. The new bike finally was given away at Fosaaen’s store, an event that drew 500-600 people. Throughout the summer, the dealership had about 2,000-3,000 name mentions on air as a result of the program, Fosaaen said. “The net cost to us is just some advertising that we were going to spend probably anyway,” he said, noting some of that advertising cost could be recovered with co-op funds.
Words of advice
Keeping an eye on inventory is key, Fosaaen said. He remembered something Ed Lemco once told him regarding inventory: nobody ever went broke from something they didn’t have in stock. Fosaaen also believes strongly in the importance of 20 groups. “It’s important for Harley dealers now as it is for Honda dealers,” he said. “If you think you can do it yourself, you’re mistaken. You’re just kidding yourself.”
— Neil Pascale
Copyright 2006 Powersports Business