Helmet House happy with 2004

A particularly focused company specializing in helmets and apparel, Helmet House distributes Shoei, HJC and TourMaster/Cortech brand products from two main facilities, one warehouse at the company headquarters in Calabasas Hills, Calif., the other in Memphis, Tenn.
Mark Gandy, director of products, told Powersports Business that 2004 has shaped up to be a benchmark year for the firm. “We have been experiencing some healthy growth with all of our lines, and we’re pleased with how this year is going; which, I think, is a good sign of our overall industry,” he said.
Recent changes at Helmet House include expansion of the Tennessee warehouse facility, the hiring of new personnel, and the introduction of a business-to-business Web site to better service its U.S. customer base.
Helmet House actually operates three warehouse locations, but only distributes out of two.
The two California facilities are 80,000 sq. ft. combined. One serves as the main warehouse, the other operates solely as an over-stock location. Gandy says the Tennessee location was expanded by 30,000 sq. ft. this year for a total of more than 80,000 sq. ft.
“What those facilities allow us to do is offer one- and two-day service to basically all qualified dealers across the nation,” he said. “It works really well, and has just done great things for customer service.”
On the personnel side of the business, Helmet House has hired a new financial officer, Randy Hutchings; a new regional sales manager, Scott McBrien; and created the new position of TourMaster sales manager, tapping Eli Whitney to fulfill that role. Whitney, transitioning from a regional sales manager position, has been with the distributor for 27 years.
“What he is going to be able to do is concentrate more time on helping the reps and selling the TourMaster overall line across the country,” Gandy said.
Helmet House has three regional sales managers and a total of 48 field and in-house telemarketing salesmen. Helmet House doesn’t define regions geographically, but formats regions using states with diverse weather conditions and landscapes. This, Gandy says, “allows our regional sales managers to see a cross-section of market segments, those different trends and different climates that can affect business.”
Technology Changes
Yet a third area to be revamped by Helmet House in the past year is its B2B plan.
The distributor launched a new dealer Web site earlier this year, accessed through www.helmethouse.com, which allows retailers access to account information, offering the ability to check inventories, pricing and availability, view an order status, and order directly on-line in real time. Designed with ProQuest Media, the site is available 24 hours a day, seven day a week. Web driven, it requires no new software to access.
“It’s been received very well and we’ve been very pleased,” Gandy said. “It also has been really interesting to see the trends in how the dealers are using it. Of course they are using it to place orders, but it’s interesting how many dealers click in for stock checks and that sort of thing.”
Regarding product, Gandy said Helmet House plans to introduce five new Tourmaster jackets in August; show the new Shoei product in September; and reveal the new HJC product in October. A new sport-touring boot also is scheduled to be introduced. Priced “very reasonably”, the boot will most likely serve a large cross-section of riders, said Gandy.
“We’ll be presenting those through our sales force,” he said, “with dealers offered programs and incentives, of course.” psb

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