SNOWMOBILE – PowerMadd Spins Off its Trailer Business

In what seems to be an amicable split, the trailer accessories and the powersport accessories divisions of PowerMadd have gone their own directions.
As of June 21, PowerMadd – with the powersports accessories – was sold to employees Randy Shimanski and Paul Le Mere. The trailer accessories division became Caliber Trailer Accessories with former PowerMadd owner Ernie DeLanghe as its owner. Financial details were not released.
“We were kind of a split personality company,” Shimanski said. “Some of our trailer customers didn’t even know we did performance products, and the performance people would think we only did trailer stuff when they got the catalog. Now, it will help us with our image and build a better brand.”
Trailer accessories made up about 40% of PowerMadd; the motorsports accessories made up about 60%, Shimanski said.
Shimanski and LeMere were employees under the former PowerMadd, and both will retain the same roles in the new company. Shimanski handles marketing; LeMere is the operations manager.
PowerMadd will keep its Burnsville, Minn., offices, as well as phone numbers,Web site and personnel. Caliber, which absorbed another trailer company, has moved to the neighboring town of Lakeville and hired the acquired employees. Matt Pfankuch, PowerMadd sales engineer, is now an independent contractor, handling some sales for both PowerMadd and Caliber.
Shimanski said he and LeMere approached DeLanghe in December 2004 with a proposal to divide the company.
“We said that we had a lot of passion for the powersports industry and that we were both avid participants,” Shimanski said, while noting that DeLanghe’s interest was more in the trailer accessory business. DeLanghe started PowerMadd 11 years ago with a partner who is no longer involved with the business.
Now, Shimanski said they’re working on changing the scope and speed of the business.
“Our top priority is new product. We really want to ramp up,” he said. “We’ve been good at getting product out the door, but we’re going to try to get product to market a lot quicker. We’re also going to focus more on the ATV and motocross segments to help level out the business.”
As it stands, currently 60% of the company’s revenues come from snowmobile products and the remainder are in the ATV and motocross segments.
“I’d like to see it at 75% ATV and motocross and and 25% snowmobile,” Shimanski said. “A lot of that is because snowmobiling is a short season and ATVing is the longest.”
This will change the marketing focus of the company, as well, Shimanski said, with more time and effort spent in the ATV and motocross segments. He said he feels the snowmobile products have reached a high recognition level in the industry, and won’t need as much marketing.
Part of the marketing will involve a race presence through sponsorships and product placement, which Shimanski said will in turn drive dealer sales.
“We’ve always been heave on snowmobile sponsorship side, but we’re really going to increase sponsorship on motocross and ATV sides,” he said.
“In the GNCC ATV pro series, we average 7 of the top 10 finishers running PowerMadd handguards. Our goal is to duplicate that on the motocross side.”
Product development is going to be another focus for the company.
“We’re definitely ramping up the new products,” he said. Within the first 12 months of ownership, he wants to release six to eight new products. In comparison, he said, the company released two new products in 2004.
A lot of these new products will be based on PowerMadd’s top-selling product: handguards.
“The PowerMadd handguard is our flagship product,” he said. “We plan on leveraging some of the popularity with our style and mounting systems. We’ve got a new motocross guard in the works and some new ATV utility-type guards.”
He declined to say what the company’s producing for snowmobiles, other to say its in the ergonomics category.
The emphasis on product growth will translate into corporate growth for PowerMadd, Shimanski said. The company currently has 10 employees and is looking to increase that number in the near future across all areas.
“The first people hires would be on the engineering side,” he said. “Then sales and then some production people, as well.”
With the increased workforce comes a larger facility.
“I think we’ll be looking for a new space in about 24 months,” Shimanski said.

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