Back Lake Road
Pittsburg, NH 03592
4,800-sq.-ft. dealership founded in 2000. Carries Yamaha snowmobiles, ATVs, and generators plus Side-by-Side ATVs; largest-selling segment is snowmobile. Pittsburg’s original business plan to Yamaha outlined selling 50 snowmobiles the first year, 75 the second, and 100 after five years. “We sold 100 in our second year, and 150 in our third year,” says manager Vince Judd. “Everybody is amazed because we work out of a very small environment, nothing fancy. But customers are very happy with how they’re treated.” Five full-time and four part-time employees.
Judd’s greatest concern is the weather. “It’s not snowing yet, and our lakes are wide open. That’s why we’re really pushing our Side-by-Side and ATV business; you don’t have to depend on the weather. Our ATV season runs from Memorial Day until the end of October. We’re hoping ATV sales can become our bread and butter, with snowmobiles the bonus.”
Pittsburg’s hottest sled is the RX Warrior, and the best-selling ATV is the Grizzly. “The Side-
by-Side Rhino is incredibly hot,” says Judd. “The two riders sit beside each other; it’s like a mini Jeep, but it’s a true, heavy-duty ATV with four-wheel drive, independent front and rear suspension, and a 660cc motor.” Judd says Pittsburg is one of the largest Yamaha accessory dealers in the Northeast. “We sell more than $100,000 worth of snowmobile accessories per year,” including via mail order. “Pittsburg is a destination spot in New Hampshire. On any give weekend we have 3,000 to 4,000 snowmobiles here, and everybody who walks in sees all the accessories that we have.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Judd says the dealership owns 8,000 acres of land. “In the last three years, with the use of state trail money we have formed the Great North Woods Riders club, and have built an 80-mile ATV trail system with a variation of terrain. That will expand to 200 to 300 miles of trails in the next two years, because we are acquiring part of a conservation easement that will enable us to use existing logging roads and snowmobile trails. “I followed the motto of Kevin Costner in the film Field of Dreams: ‘If you build it, they will come.’ The ATV business was zero. We built the trail system and this year we’ll sell about 100 ATVs. That has grown by 20% to 30% each year.” Judd guesses that the average Pittsburg customers is 45 to 55 years of age, with an annual income of at least $50,000. The dealership draws from a 300-mile radius, including southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Judd estimates that 75% of customers finance their sleds and ATVs.
“The State of New Hampshire purchased a conservation easement on 170,000 acres in our town,” notes Judd. “It was a two-year process to fight organizations like the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Sierra Club, and the Forest Legacy Group. We in motorized recreation were very fortunate to get what we did.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Judd recently hired a full-time service manager and an additional mechanic, bringing the total to three full-time and two part-time technicians in winter, the busiest season. Judd says his dictum is, “Get ‘em in, get ‘em out. Since we’re right on a major trail, trailside service is our key. And we carry approximately $200,000 just in snowmobile hard-parts inventory so when people break down, we can get them going immediately. We also offer fall delivery service. If customers have a second home here, we’ll pick up their snowmobile, ready it for the season, and take it back. When they get here, it’s one less thing to worry about.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“We opened the doors with a case of sparkplugs and a case of dry gas,” notes Judd. “We didn’t even have a microfiche, so we couldn’t order a part. I had to go get six snowmobiles to sell. We really learned this business on our own. I believe we have done so well due to the relationships we have built with our customers. We’re a people-friendly dealership, and we make sure to service their needs. Our sales approach is not to tell the customer how good our product is. We get them on a demo machine and let them tell us how good it is. That’s a unique situation, since we’re trailside — not all dealers can do it. But try to find a niche that separates you from the rest.”