Feb. 12, 2007 – Tucker Rocky growing on all fronts

GRAPEVINE, Texas — Tucker Rocky’s growth in sales that the privately held distributor has reported in recent years hasn’t slowed down.
Company President Steve Johnson told Powersports Business the Texas-based distributor has had “compounded double-digit year growth,” and that trend continued in 2006.
The growth has been fueled by a steady increase in ATV accessory business, an expanded sales force, the company’s continued pursuit of additional manufacturers and improved communications with its suppliers in an effort to improve fill rates.
Last year, Tucker Rocky added 88 new suppliers, company officials reported at their national sales meeting Jan. 19-21. About 90 vendors were on hand, including Elka Suspension, exhaust manufacturer Micron and a handful of other new suppliers.
Johnson, speaking about the company’s sales growth, said he doesn’t foresee a change in strategy in the coming year, but believes Tucker Rocky’s continued success will come down to a “daily execution of business” and the company’s commitment to being “a long-term partner with the dealer.”
“Tucker Rocky has prided itself on being more than order takers,” Johnson said, stating that such a notion isn’t shared by other industry companies.
Also unlike other companies, Johnson said Tucker Rocky has no current plans to distribute internationally. The company has formed partnerships with overseas distributors to carry some of their house brands, but Johnson said “we don’t have any intention to compete with them.
“We’re very bullish on the motorcycle business in the United States,” he said.
Tucker Rocky should be equally bullish about its ATV business. Glen Urquhart, director of Tucker Rocky’s ATV segment, said the company experienced its sixth straight year of double-digit growth in ATV sales in 2006.
Part of that growth can be attributed to the increase in ATV suppliers, including in the sport side of the business. At Grapevine, Tucker Rocky showed off new ATV sport vendors, including wheel manufacturer HiPer, Elka Suspension and Laegar Racing, which Urquhart said builds “some of the best A-arms on the racing side.”
“We’re not done (adding to the sport side), but we got some major new additions this year,” Urquhart said, noting Tucker Rocky had received the go-ahead from its management team to sign three other companies that focus on sport ATV products, but those firms were unable to provide the necessary insurance.
“It’s very important that we’re protected insurance-wise, and our dealers as well,” he said.
The push to build its sport segment of the ATV business started two years ago and will continue in the future. In fact, Urquhart said Tucker Rocky has agreed to become a sponsor of Suzuki’s WPSA team that will include last year’s champion, Doug Gust, along with Dustin Wimmer, who finished second to Gust last year while riding a Honda.
“It’s important we show our dealers that we’re supporting the sport and the segment of the business that has grown rapidly in the past several years,” Urquhart said of the company’s decision to become a sponsor in the WPSA tour.
“Buying sport products can be real fragmented for a dealer to locate everything they need to help an ATV racer. They can get one thing at this guy direct, and another thing at that guy direct.
“So we’re trying to bring it up under one umbrella to where they can get a compliment of what they’re going to need bumper-to-bumper.”
Part of Tucker Rocky’s plan for the upcoming race season includes expanding the racing weekend, so that events are planned on the Thursday and Friday before the races.
Besides improving its racing segment, Tucker Rocky is continuing to enhance its utility offerings.
“We’re still working on the utility side of the business. That’s our core side of the business in ATV,” Urquhart said, noting Tucker Rocky added an additional buyer to its ATV group to help build its product line, including for side-by-sides.
“We know it’s probably the most growth opportunity for us in the fastest time,” he said of accessories for UTVs. “So that will probably grow faster than the other (segments) just because it’s growing so fast and we’re trying to keep ahead of it instead of playing catch up. We want to be the innovators and the leaders of bringing out new accessories for the UTVs.”
Tucker Rocky also is adding to its employee base in other areas. Johnson said the company added to its sales force in the past year and will continue to do so in 2007. The additional sales staff doesn’t always mean simply more outside sales representatives, however.
“We’ve actually moved some Biker’s Choice territories to inside sales because we found in certain territories that we have lower volume, the customers are small customers and we really did a better job with inside sales than outside sales,” Johnson said.
Another issue Tucker Rocky continues to tackle, Johnson said, is its communication with its suppliers.
“I think the future is in working with the manufacturers in a more integrated supply chain fashion to reduce costs, to reduce time and improve accuracy,” he said. “And in some instances that means collaborating, working with them, sharing data.
“What I want to do is find a better way of working with the manufacturer.” psb

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