Concordia, Kan. 66901
California Phil’s dealership beat some pretty slim odds with the Motorcycle Industry Council’s Revive Your Ride! Sweepstakes. The dealership in central Kansas had not only the grand prize winner, but also the runner-up. “How cool is that?” said owner Phil Sudduth. Nearly 4,000 customers picked up entry cards by visiting one of 240 participating dealers around the nation. Jim Aldridge of Simpson, Kan., won the $10,000 grand prize after visiting California Phil’s in nearby Concordia, Kan. “A $1,500 prize winner came out of my shop as well,” said Sudduth. He opened the small dealership in 1998. “I got started because of my love for motorcycles,” he added. “I’m a small one-man shop in the middle of Kansas. I focus mainly on parts and service.”
Increasing taxes are Sudduth’s greatest concern because he already feels they’re already through the roof. “My property taxes are high, and the sales tax just went up to 8.3 percent. That’s what it was when I was in California 10 years ago. That hurts us.”
Selling mostly parts and accessories, Sudduth says he has three main sellers, including seats, exhaust and tires.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Most likely due to the down economy, less people have been purchasing chrome accessories, says Sudduth. Now they’re going for more comfort items, like heated seats and handlebars.
PARTS AND SERVICE
Parts and service are California Phil’s main source of revenue. “My Drag Specialties rep can’t believe the amount of parts I sell for a one-man shop,” said Sudduth. “He says he hasn’t seen anything like it.” Being a small shop, Sudduth says he’s able to give superior service. “I offer advice, tech support, just good service,” he noted. “A lot of online places just have you punch in the part number you want. I get people to call and say, ‘I have this, and I need this.’ Then, I’ll spend my time helping them and looking it up. I’m easy to get a hold of, fast response.” Sudduth’s online efforts have paid off as he says he has a lot of repeat Internet business. Plus the dealership ships parts and accessories all over the world.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
To promote the dealership, Sudduth advertises through radio, newspaper and cable TV. He says the later has been the most beneficial. A big believer in the Internet,
Sudduth contributes to Internet forums and puts his Web address on pretty much anything, including T-shirts.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“The biggest thing I learned was to not take your customers for granted,” said Sudduth. “When I first opened, I did that a little bit. Because I was the only shop, I figured they had to come to me anyway. I changed my course, and I really appreciate every customer now.”
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