3245 East Colorado Blvd.
Spearfish, S.D. 57783
Bill Hearne and Ch-uck Golinvaux
Thousands of motorcycles descend on the Spearfish, S.D., area annually for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, but there’s at least one dealership that makes sure the town of nearly 10,000 has motorcycles, ATVs, scooters, snowmobiles, trikes and UTVs year round: Outdoor Motorsports. The dealership, found just off Interstate 90, carries Arctic Cat, Honda, KYMCO, Lehman Trikes, Ural, Voyager Tour Conversions and Yamaha products and Stallion Trikes by Thoroughbred Motorsports. Majority owner Bill Hearne bought the dealership after trying to convince others to buy it during a stint as a broker. He decided it was too good to let go, so he told his clients he couldn’t let them buy it. He purchased the property and set up shop in the original 5,000-square-feet dealership. That building lasted nine months before Outdoor Motorsports moved to the much larger, sharply designed 19,000-square-feet building it occupies today. While Hearne keeps an overall eye on business operations, part owner Chuck Golinvaux is in charge of the day-to-day operations.
Like an increasing number of regions around the United States, west central South Dakota is facing some off-road riding area closures that Hearne is concerned about. “The age group that has fueled the tremendous growth of cruiser sales of all brands is starting to run its course, so recruiting new riders is going to be increasingly important in the next five years,” Hearne said. It’s important to know what will get people started out in riding and off roading is one of those ways, Hearne said. If those are made unavailable, it becomes that much more difficult to attract people into the sport.
Hearne prides himself in having the right product mix so that no one segment is vastly outselling another. “We tend not to get a month that 1,100 cruisers fly out the door,” Hearne said. “That’s kind of how the business was designed.” Having a diverse array of product classes and brands means not becoming overly dependent on any particular segment’s performance in the market. That said, ATVs make up about 40 percent of Outdoor Motorsports’ sales and motorcycles also make up about 40 percent, of which it’s an even split between on-road and off-road bikes. Snowmobiles, trailers and power equipment make up the remaining portion of the dealership’s sales.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“The biggest thing, with the really high gas prices, is that scooter sales have bumped up,” Hearne said. “It’s becoming more predominant that people are now looking for a substitute for car travel to save on fuel costs.” Outdoor Motorsports carries scooters from Honda, KYMCO and Yamaha.
PARTS AND SERVICE
Outdoor’s parts and accessories department is having its most successful year since its inception eight years ago. The department met its sales targets for the first time ever for the first five months of the year. The service department, which includes three technicians, enjoys a good reputation in the community for quality of work and superior customer service, Hearne said. “Like a lot of rural, mid-sized dealers, our success or failure is tied to our ability to do business over and over with the same customer,” he said.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Although Outdoor Motorsports holds three to four open houses a year, it also sponsors two riding groups and the Sturgis rally ends up being a 10-day event for the dealership. Hearne seems most proud of his dealership’s forward thinking in terms of riding and supporting the community. Whether someone’s trying to set up a safety course or there’s a motocross event coming to town, Outdoor tries to be at the forefront. “We try to take a leadership position in the community where our products are involved, so we’re a good ambassador,” Hearne said.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“The customer has to come first. Good things will follow from that,” Hearne said. “It doesn’t get any more complex than that.”
— Lisa Young
Copyright 2007 Powersports Business