Josh and Mandy Witt acquired their first dealership, Power Pac of Marshfield, Wisconsin, in 2018. Five short and busy years later, they own three locations and employee a team of 75.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” says Mandy Witt. “We always knew we wanted to own our own business, but it was kind of a pipe dream. We ended up meeting a friend of a friend and the more he got to know us and our background, the more he thought we would be a good fit to carry on his dealership.”
After acquiring Power Pac, the couple developed a five-year plan that included the purchase of at least one other location. A year and a half later, they learned that the owners of Erv’s Sales & Service in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, were looking to sell. Although the Witt’s were presented an opportunity to purchase a second location sooner than they planned, the dealership was established, top performing in its region, and had a great customer base. So they purchased Erv’s Sales & Service.
“It was in an area that we knew would always have demand because it’s what I call a traveling location,” Witt says. “There’s a lot of ‘cabiners’ and they also had marine, which we wanted to expand into. It checked all the boxes for us.”
The couple evaluated the transition process and decided to keep the dealership’s original name for three to five years. “We didn’t want to alienate anyone or the owners or loyal customers,” she says. “It turns out the name carries a lot of weight in its community.”
In 2021, they acquired Country Sports in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, a location Witt also describes as a traveling destination that sees many campers and “cabiners” from the Milwaukee and Chicago area. “We had a great relationship with the general manager and previous owner,” says Josh Witt. “Again, they picked us based on the feeling they had after discussions with us; we had similar values. This purchase took more thought because it was so soon after the second purchase and we wanted to protect our territory.”
So, the Witt’s purchased the dealership, both expanding and preventing competitors from moving into their area.
“It’s a smaller dealership, but we see a lot of potential there because they already move a lot of units out of that location,” Mandy Witt says. “They don’t have marine and that’s one of the things that we look forward to expanding to because they have bodies of water around there. We see quite an opportunity.”
As owners of three locations, the couple explains that hands-on leadership is necessary. “I travel to all three locations,” says Josh Witt, “and we pride ourselves on the culture that we created at Power Pac and what we’ve created at the other stores. We work hard and we play hard. We have low turnover, and make sure we take care of our employees. A big part is physically being there.”
Josh Witt visits each location two to three times a week to ensure that he and his wife understand their employees and customer base. “That’s a huge part of who we are,” he continues. “We’re a family run business, we understand that work is important but there are things that come up and we’re able to accommodate to just about every-body. We create an atmosphere where the customer has fun in our stores because they can feel that the employees are having fun, and it creates a good environment.”
Mandy Witt explains that while one management style is maintained across all three locations, the owners ensure that the team cultures, unique to each store, are not com-promised. “We weren’t buying businesses because they were broken,” she says, “we were buying them because they were very successful at what they do, and they know their customer base. Part of the transition was sitting back and listening and learning.” And she explains that the success of the businesses is owed to their employees.
TikTok, blogging, and social media
Mandy Witt runs the dealership’s blog, using it as a differentiator that allows the dealership to talk to customers in an intentional voice and tone. It also allows the expertise of the dealership’s team to be showcased, whether the topic is about how to execute an oil change or where to find the best riding trails.
“We had a very positive response,” Mandy Witt says. “Our website traffic would peak every time we posted a blog. Once we post a blog, we push it out via social and email. It’s about creating something once and then publishing it everywhere.”
The dealership also maintains a monthly newsletter, and Mandy explains that while some businesses believe in the weekly email, she does not. Customers receive emails monthly unless there is an upcoming event or unusual news that needs to be shared. “People think email is dead, but it isn’t,” she says. “If you don’t have a solid email strategy, you’re not doing it right.”
Along with a blog and newsletter, the dealership is also active on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. Each location has its own account, but Power Pac, the dealer’s first location, acts as the content hub.
Mandy Witt explains that a younger demographic can be reached on TikTok. “I’m not selling pontoons on TikTok,” she says. “Really, I’m not selling anything on TikTok. I’m selling our brand. And I’m selling our culture and I’m talking to people about who we are as a business and featuring the new, shiny, and sexy stuff.
“We use TikTok to create videos that go out as a reel on Instagram and Facebook and sometimes Snapchat,” she continues. “If you’re making it, you might as well put it out there. There is a time and place to put things on certain platforms, but I don’t have the staff to do that.”
The owners are currently focused on inven-tory and building an effective plan to move aged inventory. Josh Witt explains that aged inventory is something that dealers haven’t seen for a few years, so their main priority is to ensure they have the right amount of inventory in stock. They are also keeping an eye on interest rates so they can determine who will buy, what they will buy, or if cus-tomers are planning to buy.
They are prepared for the demand for electric powersports products. Power Pac is the only dealer in Wisconsin that carries Stark VARG, an all-electric dirt bike manufacturer, and it also carries Volcon. They are excited to see the electric Volcon Stag and the Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic side-by-sides hit the market.
“We did a lot of soul searching before we decided what electric brands to take on,” Mandy Witt says. “We wanted to make sure we picked winners, and we feel that with Volcon and Stark VARG we have.”
“One of the ways we’re growing in our market and in our area is making sure that the past time stays hot and stays interesting,” Mandy Witt says. The dealership recently assisted in the legalization process of ATVs and UTVs on public streets.
“Since we’ve started here, we’re making sure we’re expanding routes,” she says. “We worked with our local township, the city of Marshfield, and the town of Lincoln, another neighboring township. All these places have opened their roads and routes to ATV and UTV. This is good for sales but also, our customers are excited about it and they’re happy that we lent a hand with signage and things like that to make it happen.”
Josh Witt shares that the dealership is also involved with its community through sponsorships and by providing machines for social events. He is the vice president of Marshfield’s local snowmobile club and Mandy Witt is on the chamber board. “We feel it’s necessary to sustain a healthy business and give back to the community, which is one of the reasons we wanted to own our own business,” he says.