South Dakota dealership focuses on customer satisfaction, service
Just two years after moving to its current facility, Vern Eide Motoplex has seen tremendous growth and success, due in large part to its high-quality service and emphasis on taking care of its customers.
Vern Eide Motoplex, a 2015 Powersports Business Power 50 dealership, is a powersports branch of the parent company, Vern Eide Motorcars, which has been in the automotive business for 50 years. Steve Nunn, general manager at Vern Eide Motoplex, said that the company applied its background knowledge of auto sales to help sell powersports vehicles.
The company originally owned a Harley-Davidson dealership just south of Omaha, Neb. “We had done so well in our Harley store by implementing a lot of our processes and the way that we do business on our car end — customer service is the highest focus that we have at any of our stores,” Nunn added.
After selling the Harley-Davidson store, Vern Eide took over ownership of the existing dealership in Sioux Falls, S.D. The dealership offers a wide variety of brands, including Honda, Indian, Kawasaki, Polaris, Sea-Doo, Slingshot, Ski-Doo, Victory and Yamaha.
“For all practical purposes our flagship is the Polaris line. No question, we sell more Polaris product between Victory, Indian, Slingshot and Polaris then any of the others combined,” he said. In addition to Polaris, Nunn added that all the other brands the dealership carries have experienced flat or positive year-over-year growth in the past two years.
While the dealership’s business year-over-year grew approximately 30 percent in 2015 compared to 2014, Nunn said that some growing pains are part of the process, and that finding enough space for increased work in the service department has been a concern. Across the board, Vern Eide Motoplex experienced positive growth and a consistent increase in revenue in 2015. The service department was up at least 30 percent, and F&I has also increased due to higher sales volume.
The growth that Vern Eide has seen is not only limited to units and sales, but the dealership also added custom bike builder Rusty Jones to its team in 2014. The Rusty Jones shop is on the second floor of the dealership. “We have all of the components that he designs and manufactures that we ship out all over North America,” Nunn said.
Vern Eide owner Bruce Eide met Jones at an event in Myrtle Beach and reached out with the opportunity to work with him permanently. The shop has been well received, and Nunn said that Jones has found support on a corporate level from Indian and Victory. In fact, Jones recently participated in the national Project Scout build-off.
Under its new ownership, Vern Eide went through a remodeling process, adding an event area and a conference room to the existing store.
“Inside and out of the facility looks different than what it had been when we took over,” Nunn said. The event area is featured on the east side of the building and is used for a variety of purposes, including motorcycles safety classes.
The conference room is also used by outside groups, including a motorcycle school, the Christian Motorcyclists Association, local snowmobile groups and the Indian Motorcycle Riders group.
“We allow them to use the facility here for their own desire,” Nunn said. “Anytime that you can open your doors and be of service to the community, it says something to them — especially if you’re not expecting anything back in return.”
In 2014 and 2015, Nunn said the dealership made a point of taking the dealership and its brands to the community and to the consumer in the form of events, whether they were local or regional.
“The event area itself has been awesome for us to hold our own events on our own property. … We’re going to change things up a bit for 2016; we really want to focus more primarily on bringing people to our facility and create more of a culture here at Motoplex.
“We believe that every time you’re involved with something, as long as it’s a positive event in the eyes of the community, impressions are just as important as the success of sales,” Nunn said.
The dealership maintains heavy involvement in its community. It has sponsored multiple events, from Monster Jams to festivals like LifeLight, one of the largest Christian outdoor contemporary music festivals in the country. As a goal, Vern Eide aims to host one consumer or sales event per week, with the minimum being two per month.
A faith-based company, Vern Eide strives to “hold a higher standard of expectations out of the people that work for them as far as integrity and honesty.” In addition to hosting events, Vern Eide also has a Pay It Forward corporate account, which allows employees to help out those they see in need within their community: “Whether it’s at a grocery store or in a restaurant or filling up gas, we have the ability to corporately pay for people to do acts of kindness.”
These high standards set by the company translate over into the dealership’s relationships with its customers. Nunn described these core values as the 10 characteristics of “The Eide Effect,” which is what they want their employees to work by and live by. Key phrases like “create a culture of trust,” “hire and employ integrity,” “you’re honest, but modest” and “keep your word,” all help employees to uphold the company’s standard for the overall dealership experience.
“We have felt that you can make errors in other area of the business, but as long as you hold an extremely high value on your customer and show them that, that’s really what they’re wanting,” he said. “Anything that we touch we just try and bring in our core values to our employees, and we’ve had success.”
For Vern Eide Motoplex, happy employees are just as important as successful sales. “We truly do try to make the environment for the consumer and for the employee a place of fun,” Nunn said. “It’s natural: If people are having a good time, they are obviously enjoying themselves. Sometimes we can get caught up in the corporate structure and business world, and we forget about having fun. Life is too short to not enjoy ourselves.”