North Carolina dealer plans 18th annual charity ride
For Chris Brewer, owner of Brewer Cycles in Henderson, N.C., being involved in the community comes second to none. Last year, Brewer Cycles led the Duke Children’s Hospital Charity Ride, which drew a crowd of more than 300 people.
A FAMILY EFFORT
The Duke Children’s Hospital Charity Ride began 18 years ago after Chris’ son Tyler received care fighting childhood cancer. Tyler, now 26, remains in remission and serves as VP of Brewer Cycles. Chris, his wife Lisa and Tyler all have a hand in the charity ride, from promotional marketing to facilitating day-of activities.
Since 1997, the charity ride has raised nearly $100,000 in donations. Brewer Cycles is recognized as a special corporate supporter of Duke Children’s Hospital and has a link on its homepage that allows people to donate directly to the hospital.
The Brewers offer a variety of opportunities for people to participate in the charity ride, including: donating door prizes, volunteering to help run the event, purchasing ride and/or raffle tickets, distributing promotional flyers, donating print services for flyers and T-shirts and donating directly to Duke Children’s Hospital.
In past rides, the Christian Motorcycle Association (CMA) has also helped Brewer Cycles by handling day-of parking and cooking the food provided to the participating riders.
In 2014, hundreds of riders showed up for the festivities, and this year, registrations are already coming in for the June 7 ride. “This year we’re having two raffles, door prizes and a nice scenic route. Traditionally, it’s going to be pretty similar to last year,” said Chris Brewer.
Brewer promises this year’s ride will be well worth the trip. “We like to focus on the ride, the food and everybody having a good time,” Brewer added. “It’s not like Daytona Beach where you have all these vendors lined up — that’s not what it’s about. We want to spend the money on the kids.”
The keys to success, according to Brewer, are simple: Stay involved in your community and take care of your customers. “We just do a good job of marketing and taking care of our customers, trying to be ‘worth the drive,’ which is our slogan. We try and live up to that — treat our customers well, and then word gets out.”
Duke Children’s Charity Ride, although predominantly focused on the charity, brings customers into the dealership and promotes business. “We always end up selling a bike or two. Somebody comes and sees a bike that they like, and they come back for it,” Brewer said. The ride is an opportunity for the dealership to touch customers and inform them of what Brewer Cycles has to offer while also donating to a good cause.
Brewer Cycles, a 2013 and 2014 Powersports Business Power 50 dealership, tries to have two to three events each year and participates in other charity events. On April 14, it hosted a Spyder Ride to promote the Can-Am Spyder and to bring all of its Spyder customers together. The event included Spyder demos, food and a two-hour ride led by Brewer. By having events spread throughout the year, Brewer Cycles is able to keep up with its customers’ needs and maintain a presence in the local area.
Brewer and his dealership take customer service seriously and rely on a successful follow-up system. After a unit is purchased, the customer receives a thank you card from the sales team, and follow-up calls are done on a weekly basis to ensure its customers are satisfied. The dealership also gives a Brewer Cycles T-shirt to each customer who purchases a unit.
“Dealers need to be present. I feel like the owner or manager needs to be out there and present, so customers see that and know they are taking care of their customers,” Brewer said. “Gone are the days of customers just walking in. You’ve got to go up, introduce yourself and go way beyond customer service. Businesses these days need to wait on their customers hand and foot.”
The dealership’s business continued to be positive in 2014 with a 20-percent increase in sales over the previous year. In 2013, “in an effort to bring more variety and in-stock options” to its customers, Brewer Cycles expanded by 12,500 square feet with additional showroom space. The new showroom houses side-by-sides, ATVs, PWC and a Spyder showcase, which allows Brewer Cycles to show off its multiple lines of top-quality brands.
So far, 2015 has seen increased sales as well with its offering of Can-Am, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, KYMCO, Motor Trike, Polaris, Sea-Doo, Yamaha and Star Motorcycles vehicles.
“It’s been really good,” Brewer said. “Comparatively speaking, 2015 is already better. Our January through March sales are higher than the same months of 2014.”
Although Henderson is a small, rural town, its proximity to Interstate 85 and U.S. Highway 1 allow for some solid traffic. Brewer says that the in-store traffic keeps the dealership busy most days.
“We have found the balance between small town hospitality and big city selection,” he added. Brewer Cycles has a wide network of social media and online marketing to help promote its business as well.
Brewer Cycles recently began sponsoring an amateur race team, equipped with a support trailer. In addition to his VP duties, Tyler Brewer serves as the team manager of the amateur dirt bike races.
“The truck is almost 70 feet long. They go to larger local races and qualifiers. We set up our tents, and our race team sells, services and repairs,” Chris Brewer said. “My son just ran with it. He goes to the line, helps the boys out, and he can relate to the [racers].”
The dealership supports more than 50 racers and plans to continue into 2015. Since the sponsorships began, Brewer says dirt bike business at the dealership has increased by more than 300 percent.
“I always raced all my life, and [Tyler] raced for a short period of time. It was my passion as well,” Brewer said. The continued growth has led Brewer Cycles to consider future partnerships with other sponsors in the racing series.
A dealership can only succeed if it has a team that can work together; such is the case at Brewer Cycles. “I have a really good staff here,” added Brewer. “I have a lot of people that have been with me for more than 20 years, and I have to give a lot of credit for our success to my employees.”