PERRY’S YAMAHA CENTER
Perry’s Yamaha Center
2010 Telephone Road
Pascagoula, MS 39567-3350
A corporation Steve Perry
Perry’s Yamaha center is one of the oldest Yamaha dealers on the Gulf of Mexico. Opened in the late 1970s by the Perry family, Steve Perry is the current owner. The dealership started with Yamaha motorcycles, but in 1986 became one of only 50 dealers invited to carry Yamaha’s PWC line, set to debut in 1987. “We had watercraft here before they had them in New Orleans,” says Steve Perry. “Before Mobile, Alabama; before Pensacola, Florida; before other big places like that, we had them.” Perry’s is a Yamaha only dealer, carrying a full accompaniment of bikes, ATVs, PWC, jet boats, scooters and generators. They also carry Triton aluminum PWC trailers. “We’ve been a Yamaha dealer only for all these years,” says Perry. “We’ve been approached by Kawasaki, Suzuki, Sea-Doo, Polaris; and we’ve said no. If you want to do your brand justice, you need to stick with what you know and do your best with it.” The facility is a mere 7000 square feet, which makes even Yamaha wonder how Perry’s has been so successful, according to Perry.
“I have some concerns with the Internet,” says Perry. “I have customers come in and say, ‘I can buy it on eBay.’ I say, ‘Try and get it serviced on eBay.’ That’s kind of scary, more and more people want to shop from their couch.”
“For watercraft it’s the new VX110; both the deluxe and sport models,” says Perry. Yamaha does have some pretty high-end units, like the high-output [models], and they sold out too, so they were kind of neck-and-neck. It was hard to say which unit sold the most: it was either the VX110 or one of the high-output units.” In parts, personal floatation devices do well. “Usually if people buy a watercraft, they’ll purchase a couple and I’ll give them a couple,” says Perry. “We also sell a lot of small things like number kits or soft luggage that can be used as a cooler.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“We started to change seasons, so now we’re starting to get out of watercraft and start selling ATVs,” says Perry. “ATVs are going to start picking up. We sell motorcycles year round. We don’t get too cold down here.” For Perry’s cruiser motorcycles outsell sport bikes and utility ATV outsell sport models. “This is kind of a funny area for sport bikes,” says Perry. “I can go 50 miles either way from me and those guys can’t keep sport bikes in stock. The R1 and R6 are a couple of the hottest sport bikes out there and I’ll look at them on the floor for a couple of months before I move them. And I have dealers begging for them. It’s just the area. [For instance,] V-star 650s we sell a lot of, but I’ve got a dealer 50 miles from me and they can’t give them away.”
“We’ve been fighting a PWC ban. In the last five years our watercraft sales have pretty much gone down to nothing,” says Perry. “This year they are up 180 percent. In fact we got a little thing from Yamaha saying that we were going to be the most-improved [PWC] dealer. For some reason, south Mississippi, this particular area is the only area that still has a ban still on watercraft. There has been legislation to open up areas in Alabama, Florida Louisiana and Texas; why we are going to be last, we have no idea.” As for ATV, much of the surrounding are is a wildlife refuge and has never been open to OHVs.
PARTS AND SERVICE
Perry’s employs only seven full-time employees and one part time, so people wear a lot of hats. For Perry, service is not a major revenue stream. “The main thing with the service is to about break even,” says Perry. “[For us] service isn’t a money making item. Whatever labor you make, if you pay your guys in back, you have a good deal. The money making is behind the counter with parts and accessories. We’re one of the leading dealers with the motorcycle accessories. [We sell a lot of] lightbars, along with backrests for drivers and passenger. On average, our customers are putting about $1000 worth of accessories on the bike at the time of purchase (on cruisers).
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Pascagoula is a pretty small town, and Perry’s relies on its long history to attract customers. “We’ve been here almost 30 years, people know where we are,” says Perry. “We occasionally have get togethers with the customers. And I do attend several of the local club meetings and that does bring people in. Being loosely involved with some of the riding clubs does spur some business.” As for advertising, Perry’s takes advantage of the Yamaha co-op dollars, especially on cable channels of interest like TNN or on outdoor sports shows.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Take care of your customer,” says Perry. “We have so many people that drive from a couple states away to come visit us. There are two or three other Yamaha shops within 150 miles of us and people will bypass other Yamaha shops because they are not being taken care of. I had one guy call me up and wanted to by two spark plugs from me. I said, ‘You’re going to spend $15 in gas to come buy two spark plugs from me.’ Well, he doesn’t care what it is going to cost to get over here because he likes doing business with us.