May 12, 2008 – Smooth takes on second, larger distributor

An accessories company that has taken advantage of the popularity of the U.S. Supercross series is adding a second and larger national distributor.
Mike Koger, president of Smooth Industries, says the Oceanside, Calif.-based company has added Tucker Rocky as a distributor.
Smooth Industries sells a variety of products that feature Supercross’ biggest names, from Jeremy McGrath to Chad Reed to Travis Pastrana. The products, which range from kids clothing to bedding to autographed photos and even calendars, were previously only distributed dealer-direct or through Western Power Sports (WPS).
“It was a difficult decision to add a second distributor as I didn’t want WPS to take it wrong and think I didn’t appreciate all of their hard work,” Koger said in his reasoning to add a second distributor. “It had nothing to do with being unhappy with WPS, it was more about reaching more accounts.
“Between WPS and my own inside/outside sales reps, somehow each year at the Indy trade show we would run into a pretty good number of accounts who still had no idea we even existed.”
Tim Pritchard, Tucker Rocky’s vice president of sales and marketing, said in a press release that the Fort Worth, Texas-based distributor is “certainly excited to be a part of Smooth Industries distribution network. Smooth has done an outstanding job of creating a highly desirable niche product line, and we are happy to be part of the company’s continued growth strategy.”
Smooth Industries, which started with WPS in 2003, works currently with about 1,700 dealers.
“Our product line was much smaller when they (WPS) started out with us, and it was my hope that by adding WPS as our distributor, we could grow our line of products at a much faster rate,” Koger said. “And that is exactly what happened, and I couldn’t have been happier.”
Koger’s decision to try to expand business even more with a second distributor means expanding his manufacturing orders from overseas and additional challenges for his sales reps.
“It’s easy for them to feel like they have too much competition when it comes to selling the Smooth line into the dealers,” he said of his sales reps, “but it all comes back to the relationships each of the outside reps builds with their accounts and if they have built a solid relationship and they can get in there and really focus on our products and merchandise them in the stores, the dealer is going to stick with buying from them.”
Koger doesn’t see immediate issues meeting additional product demand. Smooth Industries’ peak seasons are the fall, during the back-to-school selling time, and during the holidays. Koger does expect this year’s back-to-school orders to be a little tighter with the extra distributor but because “back to school is our second biggest time of the year, we already order quite a bit of product.
“Starting for holiday ’08, forecasting will be much more important to ensure we do not run out of inventory too soon or that we do not order too much and have a lot of excess inventory come first quarter in ’09,” he said.
Besides concentrating on forecasting, Smooth Industries also is putting more emphasis on building its brand name.
“Up until this point, everything in our line has been licensed products,” Koger said. “We have now started focusing on building upon the Smooth Industries name, both in promoting it more on our licensed products as well as creating our own brand of products that are not relying on riders and corporate brands.”
The company’s brand, “Ride Smooth,” is now incorporated into its advertising campaigns. Koger notes those campaigns will still be focused “on the actual riders because that is who we are and who we will remain.”

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