Being a small, 2,000-square-foot single-line Suzuki dealer in central Orange County has its benefits for Southland Cycle Center.
Located in Garden Grove, Calif., just a block east of Beach Boulevard and four miles south of Knotts Berry Farm, Southland benefits from a customer base that rides year-round. And Southland’s treatment of its customers keeps them coming back time and again, according to sales manager Aaron Moon.
The shop opened in 1967. It’s also counts 2,000 square-feet of usable outdoor space, also known as the outdoor sales lot. With four full-time employees and an additional four part-timers, the dealership made improvements in 2013 by increasing PG&A inventory to capitalize on the closing of a nearby stand-alone accessory store. Southland owner Marc Johnson says that sales of parts and accessories increased by 20 percent in 2013, one of the reasons why the dealership was named to the 2014 Powersports Business Power 50.
Throw in a Suzuki Super Service Award, and being the No. 1 retailer in the nation of 100% goggles, and the recipe for success is there.
“Our plan for future success is to continue our tradition of exemplary customer service and competitive pricing,” Moon said. “We’re continually updating our business to keep up with 21st century retail demands. And we’re keeping a very close eye on inventories and monthly business statements.”
The service department at Southland drives a high percentage of the store’s revenues. Service technicians work on a commission rate, and a first-come, first-served (no appointments) program being offered in the service department on Saturdays keeps them busy. Appointments can be taken any day if necessary, but most weekly walk-ins are serviced immediately, Moon reports.
“Customer satisfaction is our main priority, so we’re constantly speaking to our customers about their experiences at our dealership, and keeping a close eye on online reviews,” Moon added.
Southland’s service department staffers regularly attend online training via Suzukiconnect, and the Finance & Insurance department training includes sessions on red flags, securing customer information and regulations via Universal Underwriters.
With a full-time staff of four employees, there’s always a familiar face at the dealership. With that in mind, don’t expect to find the shop at consumer shows.
“The trade-off of letting one of our employees go to a consumer show is a loser in terms of the employee not generating income at the store,” Moon said.
A year-round in-store promotion (and lead generator) allows customers to be picked at random to receive a free Suzuki accessory or a gift card to the store. Customers are encouraged to sign up weekly, and Southland Cycle Center aims to give them plenty of reasons to keep coming back.
“We offer friendly, honest service and hard work,” Moon said. “You have to genuinely care about and love what you’re doing or it won’t work. The large dealers have become boring and have a cookie-cutter mentality. There has to be processes, but people don’t want to be treated like robots — both employees and customers alike.”