Smith Bros. Motorcycles
4202 Martin Street
Cropwell, Ala. 35054
Smith Bros. Motorcycles owner Wayne Smith has been in the industry for 40 years. His brother and he owned a dealership but sold it in 1992 when his brother wanted to retire. Wayne couldn’t leave the industry and ended up reopening the store they were in before. The dealership sits on eight acres on Logan Martin Lake. “When the weather warms up in the summer months and people dust the cobwebs off their watercraft,” Smith said, “we do quite well.” The dealership sells Suzuki, Bush Hog and United Motors.
“The economy,” Smith said of his biggest worry. “We cut the price of the machines as much as we can to entice people. The biggest problem is there are still people wanting to buy. There’s just not as much money in the money pool to lend them the money.” Smith says things will get better when the banks loosen up a bit with their lending.
ATVs are the vehicle of choice at Smith Bros. Motorcycles. The ATVs featuring a 400cc engine have the highest demand.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
With the economy in the shape that it is, Smith has noticed fewer people coming through the dealership’s doors. “We’re not seeing the volumes of people looking like they did before,” he said, “and the credit is a lot tighter.” Smith said even though the dealership has “super finance rates, they’re not as easily financed as they were before. A lot of times you could get someone financed with C or D credit. Ever since the (economic downturn), we’ve experienced only the top credit scores are being purchased and that really hurts the business. I’ve been in it 40 years and I’ve never seen it this pitiful before as far as financing goes.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
In Pell City, Ala., if anyone needs to get their powersports serviced, they usually go to Smith Bros. Motorcycles. Smith says their service department manager is a 30-year veteran, and he is well known and respected in the area. As far as parts, Smith notes some of the dealership’s best parts sellers are batteries, tires and helmets.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
The dealership’s biggest event is a motorcycle ride. “There are usually a couple hundred riders involved in those,” Smith said, “and all the money that comes from that we’re giving to the American Cancer Society.” Smith says they aim to do 2-3 events a year. In addition to events, Smith says the dealership has as many ads in newspapers and magazines as it can, which often advertise an upcoming event.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“If they’re perspective dealers, I’d tell them to do something else,” he said, “but if they’re already in it, put in long hours and try to weather the storm. I feel like it will turn around.”
— Karin Gelschus
Copyright 2009 Powersports Business