1400 East Butler Ave.
Flagstaff, Ariz. 86001
Jim and Michelle Custer
Jim Custer had actually been looking to buy a small grocery or convenience store when his broker showed him a powersports dealership that needed some work. Custer liked the fact that the business had been established in his community for five years already and decided to buy it with his wife Michelle. Flagstaff Motorsports opened in June 2000. The dealership used to be a Polaris-only store, but has since added Arctic Cat, Victory and Dinli. The store carries something for every season, including ATVs, utility vehicles, motorcycles, snowmobiles and sand buggies. Flagstaff Motorsports has 16 employees.
“Off-road closure,” Jim Custer said. “The tendency now is to have more and more areas posted as closed or closed unless posted.” Fewer places to ride ultimately means less interest in buying an off-road vehicle, he said.
Despite concern over fewer places to ride, the dealership began offering ATV rentals last year at another location. While Flagstaff Motorsports is just beginning this venture, Custer thinks it will become cost effective.
Polaris Rangers and corresponding accessories are hot commodities at Flagstaff Motorsports, Custer said. “It’s a little more of a family orientated vehicle,” Custer said. “There is more room for gear or dogs. You can strap a car seat into it. There’s less performance in speed.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
When he first opened the dealership, customers were buying up quads, Custer said. Over time, the customers have tended more toward utility-type vehicles. The dealership also has sold a lot of entry level, 300cc to 350cc, vehicles to those looking into getting into the sport of riding. Customers also have become a lot more conscious of the fuel efficiency and fuel capacity of vehicles, Custer said.
PARTS AND SERVICE
Custer credits the dealership’s service department for boosting repeat business. Service technicians are constantly working to improve their output, Custer said. Implementing Lightspeed has helped immensely with that, he added. Stocking a wide variety, and a sufficient amount of, parts has done the dealership a great service in preparedness, Custer said.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Flagstaff Motorsports doesn’t do a lot of advertising. Instead the dealership prefers to get its name out there in other ways, Custer said. All of the promotional events the dealership holds are for charity. “We try to be involved from a community standpoint,” he said. “Doing something for the community advertises us as good guys and keeps money local.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Have your stock on hand, ready to buy,” Custer said. “We try to stock as much as possible. I don’t like being out of stock.
“And customer service and community involvement,” he added. “It’s what separates you from your competitors. Anybody can buy advertising, but you can’t buy goodwill (from) your community; you can’t buy integrity.”
— Lisa Young
Copyright 2009 Powersports Business