February 7, 2011-Back-to-back growth years for chock builder

A change in marketing approaches and distribution appears to have bolstered the sales of an aftermarket company.
Condor, an Illinois-based manufacturer of patented chocks, has seen its distributor sales rise more than 40 percent over the past year, said Ken Glassman, the company’s marketing director.
Three years ago, the previously dealer-direct company founded by a former Motorola engineer made a switch in distribution. The switch to national distributors, however, happened late enough in the season so that the company’s products — including its freestanding chock that can hold a bike upright — missed the annual catalogs. A year later, in 2009, that was corrected and the company saw its sales through Parts Unlimited and Tucker Rocky Distributing rise more than 30 percent.
Last year, Glassman said Condor made one more significant move. The company decided rather than attending Dealer Expo in Indianapolis, they budgeted that money toward attending the distributors’ dealer meetings. The result:
40-plus percent sale increases from each of the distributors.
“The first year we had a big jump I said, ‘OK, I understand that. We’re in the catalogs,” Glassman said. “This year surprised me.”
Besides visiting with each of the distributors’ sales rep teams during their individual shows, Glassman attributed another step to being key to Condor’s sales rise. The company worked with one of its distributors to give sales reps a discounted price on its chocks, so the items could be tested and used by sales reps on the road. The approach worked as more than half of the distributor’s sales force took advantage of the special deal.
“We’ve asked them (the distributors) to guide us in what we can do together to make things better, and they’ve been great at that,” Glassman said. “And the results are there.”
Condor, which manufactures its product out of its Illinois facility, had a significant dealer-direct business before making the distribution switch, Glassman said.
“We think both Tucker and Parts are outstanding people to deal with,” he said, noting, “We were hesitant in the beginning.”
Glassman said the company had heard some aftermarket firms struggled with such distribution switches. “We haven’t had any problems in the least with either one of them,” he said of the national distributors.
Besides attending the distributors’ dealer shows, the company remains active at consumer events, showing off its freestanding unit, its Pit-Stop, and its scooter and chopper models to audiences at IMS and other popular rider shows.

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