May 12, 2008 – Directly to the dealers

Specialty Sports is shifting some of its distribution after a two-year relationship with national distributor Tucker Rocky ended.
Specialty Sports CEO Chris Hayes told Powersports Business the Rockford, Mich.-based apparel manufacturer will shift its Teknic brand distribution in the United States to a system it currently uses in the England — dealer direct.
“The positives are in the long run we’re going to be working directly with the dealers,” Hayes said, “so we really get to be the partner with the people who are retailing our product. So you’re going to get closer to the customer, not only closer to the dealer, but closer to the consumer too just because you’re one step closer to that.
“I envision we will be able to be more involved with our customers with retail strategies, some merchandising and marketing concepts that will help us help them.”
Specialty Sports made the change in distribution after Tucker Rocky informed the company that it had made a “corporate decision to go in a different direction with their apparel program,” Hayes said.
Tucker Rocky officials would not comment on the distribution change with Teknic.

Looking ahead
Will Specialty Sports consider going with another distributor to handle Teknic, its motorcycle street apparel line, in the future?
“Nobody closes doors. I’m not saying that if there are opportunities with other distributors we would just say no,” Hayes said. “We would certainly entertain that.”
But Hayes said, “with the dynamics of the market and what’s happening, I think it’s going to be more successful for us in the long term to take Teknic directly to the dealers.”
Specialty Sports still will maintain some of its distribution through an outside source. Marshall Distributing will continue to distribute Specialty’s Coldwave brand.
Going dealer-direct is not new to the company as it has done that in England since 2002. Specialty Sports’ first step to getting its U.S. dealer-direct program under way means getting “in touch with the dealers who have been stocking our products and start developing that direct relationship with them, although we know a lot of them,” Hayes said.
Specialty Sports also has staffing issues to sort out in the coming weeks, including how many sales reps to hire.
Hayes says the company is working to get Teknic product out to dealers starting this fall.
For questions on Teknic’s distribution, dealers should contact Marketing Manager Bill Ringrose at 616/866-3722.
— Neil Pascale

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