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MOMS makes sweet lemonade from a lemon

By David Wells

Inaugural winter sales event a grand slam on many levels

“In every respect, we set new records,” said MOMS operations consultant Larry Meservey. 

He’s talking about the New England dealerships’ recent Winter Bash and Monster Sale that was staged in-house at the MOMS Foxboro location after the dealership was handed a lemon when the established Boston motorcycle expo was unexpectedly cancelled on short notice. 

Founded in 1973 as Motorcycles of Manchester in New Hampshire, the family-owned business began as a vendor of parts, service and pre-owned bikes. Now with additional locations in the Boston suburbs of Revere and Foxboro, MOMS is one of the largest multi-brand powersports dealerships in the northeast and had been a sponsor of the Boston motorcycle expo every January. When the dealership learned in December that the 2017 expo would not take place, the three MOMS dealerships went to work to produce their own version of the successful show and came out ahead by doing it themselves. 

Has your dealership bought a drone yet to take photos of your outdoor events? It’s worth considering, as Motorcycles of Manchester in Foxboro, Massachusetts, shows with this shot of its Winter Bash and Monster Sale.

“We would sell 30 to 40 motorcycles at the old show,” Meservey said, “and we couldn’t take any off-road equipment.” But after its own event held on the last weekend of January, the dealership had deals and quotes on over 150 units, plus parts, garments and accessory sales that exceeded any previous in-house sales event in dealership history. 

“It also got us a lot of new service customers,” Meservey continued. “I don’t think we’ve seen all the residuals from the show.” And the final expense tally was also a positive. “We spent a lot of money, but not as much as we would have at the convention center,” he added. 

Motorcycles of Manchester’s inaugural winter sales open house rose from the ashes of a canceled regional motorcycle expo that the dealership had exhibited at for years. Now, those customers all come to MOMS.

MOMS went all out to make its expo something far beyond the typical dealer open house. Its 50,000-square-foot used bike warehouse was transformed into the main display area, and the dealership pulled in more than 1,000 units, including not only Victory, Indian, Yamaha and Hyosung motorcycles but also Polaris Slingshots, ATVs and snowmobiles.

“We went to a rental company and rented pipe and drape to give the expo look,” Meservey said. “We had a 40-by-60 tent by the front door with some machinery — including some well-accessorized ATVs — outside.”

But that was just the beginning of this extravaganza. The event included a trio of food trucks and a wine and beer bar. MOMS brought in a master of ceremonies, live entertainment, and the dealership set up a prize wheel, with each guest allowed a free spin to win a small prize contributed by suppliers. And a kiddie corner featured face painting, coloring books and balloon animals, so there would be something for the whole family. 

Food trucks were brought into the warehouse to keep customers fed — and shopping longer.

“Next we invited vendors,” related MOMS sales and marketing manager Brandee Wheeler. “Our parts department reached out to reps from Tucker Rocky, Parts Unlimited, Sullivans, Mustang Seats and so on. We also invited our local riding groups, the Indian Motorcycle Riding Group and the Mass Bay Victory Riders. These folks are not only customers of ours, but great ambassadors for our dealership. We also invited Streetwise Cycle School, who uses our parking lot to teach riding classes.”

Two banks to handle finance and an insurance company were also on site, so customers who wanted to ride their new bikes home could do just that. 

Marketing was key to a successful event. “We made sure customers and friends of all three MOMS locations were included,” Wheeler said. “We had staff from all locations working the event, so customers had familiar faces, no matter which MOMS location they usually shop.” 

Promotion included email blasts, Facebook, local radio and billboards. And importantly, friends and customers were encouraged to share information on the event by word of mouth. 

The MOMS event attracted about 1,100 cars in the parking lot, and there were just as many powersports products awaiting them inside the store’s pre-owned warehouse.

Timing was also a key consideration, as the MOMS Foxboro location is just down the street from Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. The event was scheduled for the last weekend of January in the middle of the two-week period between NFL conference championship games and the Super Bowl. 

After three weeks of intense preparation, including many late nights, the results were soon obvious. By 11 a.m. Saturday morning, there were more than 1,100 cars in the parking lot. The dealership collected feedback cards as guests departed, and Wheeler said that they “were thrilled to see what a great time everyone had.” 

“This concept is a winner,” Meservey declared. “We’re going to have it again. We want more vendors, more PG&A, more finance options, more insurance options. We’re going to work on the ease of parking,” with shuttle service planned to the expo and back from off-site parking for next year’s MOMS Winter Bash and Monster Sale. It’s scheduled for Jan. 27-28, 2018. 

Based in Pittsford, New York, David Wells has been a contributor to Powersports Business since its inception.

 

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