Sept. 29, 2003 – Parts Pro

Champion Cycle

3625 N. Western Av
Chicago,Il. 60618

Family-owned, Champion Cycle has been in business for 37 years and carries Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Derbi. 11,000 sq. ft.; 14 employees.

Michael Wolfe is manager of the parts department. Eleven years of experience. Wolfe’s father started the dealership.

The parts department accounts for 15% of the dealerships gross and spans 1200 sq. ft.; three employees (two on counter and one for accessory sales). Champion is currently seeking a full-time parts and full-time accessory sales person.

“It helps to have a parts counter person who has been with me for three years and knows his stuff,” Wolfe says, “but it’s still a challenge to manage inventory.” Spends the majority of his day working counter, tracking employees and making orders.

Wolfe says he deals with Parts Unlimited, Tucker Rocky, Nichols, Sullivan Bros. and Lockhart. “Most of our business is sportbike,” he says, “So we sell a ton of HJC helmets and Joe Rocket apparel from Sullivans.” Other popular brands include Dunlop, Vanson, Thor, Kuryakyn, D&D, Yoshimura and Cobra. “Parts and Tucker have great inventory; the Nichols people are really pleasant and easy to work with; and Lockhart just has a lot of the sportbike stuff we’re looking for.”

Champion Cycle’s parts department is in a separate room attached to the store, with hard parts positioned behind the counter at the entrance to the room. Helmets, apparel, locks, mirrors, windshields and bike covers are displayed on the walls, while tire racks, saddlebag rack, watercraft apparel, and glass cases remain on the floor. No merchandiser involved. Wolfe says layout rarely changes — “The helmets are always on the wall, the racks are always on the floor,” he says. “Everything has its place, so there’s not usually a lot to change.”

Wolfe completes OE and distributor orders every day using Lightspeed NXT and the fax. “It’s expensive, but the computer system helps a lot,” he says. “We haven’t used it for accounting purposes, but it works great for ordering, inventory and service.”

“My biggest challenge is keeping the customers happy,” Wolfe says. “Getting phone calls answered and parts moving along at the same time.”

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