235 Glencove Blvd.
Lake Ozark, Mo. 65049
Jan Thompson and Sherry Jackson
It was a humble beginning for Glencove Marine: It started in a driveway on the north shore of Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri in 1984. It wasn’t long after that it was moved to a more permanent site — still the main location — though the business has added three more locations. It started as a Chris Craft dealership, but expanded to include Thunderbird’s Formula Boat line in 1989 and Sea-Doo and Can Am ATVs in 2006, following the acquisition of Yacht Club Marina. The dealership started with four partners, but is now owned by two women: Jan Thompson, an original partner, and Sherry Jackson. Jackson, the company’s controller, became an ownership partner in 2008. It’s one of the largest Sea-Doo dealers in the Midwest, and has also been a top Formula dealer for the past 15 years, says Steve Beeny, facility manager.
“With the current economic challenges, we see many dealerships cutting staff to the point where it’s affecting customer service,” Beeny said. “We all need to remember that it’s the customer who makes our success possible.” Beeny is also concerned about dealers who cut their profit margins on units in order to get business. “It takes profit from every segment of your business to remain viable,” he said.
“Since it’s winter in the Midwest, there’s not a lot of anything selling currently,” Beeny said. “However at the boat shows, we’ve sold more GTX 155 models than anything else. Sea Doo’s new 2009 GTX Ltd. iS and RXT iS have generated a lot of interest. We’ve been selling them but since the GTX 155 is at a lower price point, that is where we anticipate the largest market segment to remain.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Horsepower. What was once a sales mainstay at Glencove — the 85hp two-strokes — now sees very little interest. Currently, its lowest horsepower new machine is 130; the 155hp engine has the largest market share and there’s been a lot of interest in the 215hp-plus units. There’s also a shift from a two-stroke preference to four-stroke, he adds.
PARTS AND SERVICE
Glencove’s service department employs seven full-time techs, two service writers, two delivery captains/detail/check-in employees, one person who does initial prep and fiberglass repair and three parts people. “We have one of the most extensive parts inventories in the nation,” Beeny said. The company started an eStore two years ago, and now has more than 1,500 items listed. The eStore supports the salaries of three employees.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
In 2006, the dealership started a Sea-Doo Demo Days, where customers can ride various Sea-Doo models consecutively to facilitate a buying decision. It’s been so popular that they’ve expanded it to twice per season. In 2009, the demos will take place in May and July. It’s advertised in the local boating magazines, on several radio stations and through mass e-mail to its customers, Beeny says.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“No. 1 is that you need to know where your business is today and where it’s headed, at all times,” Beeny said. “Meet with department heads weekly to review their sales and productivity as well as what obstacles they are encountering. What are the profitability trends in each department? Don’t manage with knee-jerks, but don’t be too slow to respond to real trends. Pay attention to your CSI ratings. The businesses that take care of their customer base during these challenging times are going to profit the most when the industry starts expansion again.”
— Lynn Keillor
Copyright 2009 Powersports Business