Beaver Dam Honda Kawasaki
N8309 Kellom Rd.
Beaver Dam, Wis. 53916
Kevin Bowman, Mike Drabenstot and Gary Stevens
ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” renovates or rebuilds houses for deserving families. Formerly dangerous, unsightly or inconvenient spaces are transformed into beautiful, functional areas. Beaver Dam Honda Kawasaki recently underwent its own Extreme Makeover: Powersports Edition. Kevin Bowman, Mike Drabenstot and Gary Stevens purchased the existing dealership in central Wisconsin in 2005. They knew when they purchased the business they would have to move it at some point. The old facility was hidden away in an older part of Beaver Dam, where there was little traffic. The new dealership, which the company finished moving into in early March, sits on almost four acres in a newer, expanding part of the city and is right off of a main highway through the area. Another drawback Beaver Dam Honda Kawasaki had at its old location was the building was made up of many rooms and customers might not see everything that was on display if they only popped in to grab something that was in one of the front areas of the store. The new facility is far less claustrophobic at twice the square-footage as the previous store, with one main building to house the showroom, as well as parts and accessory displays. Customers can see all inventory offerings at one time instead of wandering from room to room. The three owners are estactic with the switch. The new configuration is more conducive to fun and that’s why they got into the business in the first place, Bowman says. All were previously involved in the construction industry, but eventually decided they would rather be doing something they would enjoy every day. “Motorcycles have always been a passion and so we all decided that’s where we wanted to be,” Bowman said. They purchased the Honda dealership in town, which had been there for more than 30 years. Many of the store’s employees stuck around under the new ownership, which was a huge help for owners who were new to the industry, Bowman says. Beaver Dam added Kawasaki to its lineup last year. The company sells ATVs, motorcycles, scooters and UTVs.
As in many other areas of the country, the economy is a topic that keeps surfacing at Beaver Dam lately. Bowman is hoping consumer interest remains for the industry. One way he hopes to get around any lull in economic conditions is to build significance in the products while maintaining the bottom line. “What we sell are toys,” Bowman said. “I just hope consumers continue to be able to spend money on these toys. (We) try to maintain the value of what we sell. If we all want to be part of this business that we love, we have to do what it all comes down to…make money.”
ATVs are an important part of the product mix at Beaver Dam Honda Kawasaki. Honda models have been the top seller early this spring. “Honda has some awesome financing available right now, and they also have great incentives on 2007 models,” Bowman said. ATV sales should only continue to climb at the dealership’s new facility. With four acres to roam around on, the company decided to install an ATV test track. Highly visible from the highway, the track should garner a lot of attention and make it easier for customers to decide which unit is right for them, Bowman says.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“Last year the floor traffic seemed to be down a little,” Bowman said. “The customers definitely are very cost conscious, but I think they always will be.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
New and improved digs also mean an expansive accessories department for Beaver Dam Honda Kawasaki. The company’s old facility didn’t allow Bowman and company to grow this area. Now with more area to work with, the dealership is displaying more inventory and using display set-ups to make the view more interesting for customers. Customers can now see all the accessories upon walking into the door, Bowman says. Part owner Gary Stevens is the service department manager, which means its easier to keep things under control and flowing smoothly there, Bowman says. “He can make sure everyone is busy and that each job is done correctly,” he added.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Events were another area where the old store was a prohibitor for Beaver Dam Honda Kawasaki. With little and confusing space to work with, the dealership rarely held events for its customers or the general public. The company plans to change that now that it’s in its new space. A grand opening is slated for May and plans are in the works to have a number of regular events at the store, including group rides, open houses and track days.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“We try to work as much as possible with the other dealers in our area,” Bowman said. “We are all responsible for this industry, so it’s best if we stick together.”
— Lisa Young
Beaver Dam Honda Kawasaki – Beaver Dam, WI – 4/21/08