RIVA Motorsports group has expanded from Southern to Central Florida and Dave Bamdas, an owner of the dealer group explains, “We’re definitely in expansion mode and we’re on the move.” Bamdas, alongside his brother Joe Bamdas, sister Leslie Ferrera and partner Mike Martin, now oversee four locations.
“We’ve had these three dealerships and they’re thriving and doing great, but we want to grow within our Florida market,” he says. “We saw an opportunity on the Space Coast to purchase Spaceport Cycles.” The strategic location, less than an hour from Orlando, Melbourne and Cocoa Beach, will allow the dealer group to service a growing market.
Purchased from Conrad Eigenmann, the dealership has been renamed RIVA Motorsports Space Coast. The dealership has served the Titusville area for over 30 years and sits across from Cape Canaveral. “From the dealership, you can see the shuttle assembly building,” Bamdas says. “There was a slump in the space industry, but now there are half a dozen private space companies that are moving into the area, and with that, big populations of people are coming to support these space programs. We’re seeing a revival of the space coast market because of the rapid expansion of the space industry.”
Expanding the marine segment
As the Space Coast area continues to grow, RIVA will continue to expand the dealership’s PWC and marine offerings. “This dealership was heavily off-road based. The former owner was a big motocross guy,” Bamdas explains. “We greatly value what Conrad built and we’re respecting his legacy and continuing to support the off-road community in that area, but we’re going to come in heavy with watercraft. That will involve facility expansion and improvements.”
RIVA Motorsports Space Coast carried the Yamaha PWC line under the previous ownership, and the Yamaha Boats franchise has been added since the recent acquisition. The Yamaha boats are currently displayed on a lot adjacent to the facility, so RIVA is preparing for expansion on the current site.
“But it’s not just about the franchises, building, and location. It’s about the people,” Bamdas says. “They have great salespeople and a great parts manager and technicians. We are very lucky the staff has come on board with RIVA.” Most of the staff stayed at the dealership during the change of ownership, and Shane Hildy relocated to the newly acquired Titusville location from the group’s Miami dealership to take on the general manager position.
“He has the RIVA culture embedded in him from years of working between our Miami and Key Largo stores,” Bamdas says. And the RIVA culture will develop within the dealership as leadership implements the group’s core values.
The number one value of RIVA Motorsports is customer service, and the group’s number one priority is to provide an excellent customer experience. “We put that above our quest for profitability because we believe that if you provide excellent customer service, the profitability will come on its own,” he says. “That’s what we pride ourselves in. We don’t want to leave any customer behind. We work very hard to please everybody.”
He says that it is also important that employees are treated like family, explaining that they are more than just staff. “Our employees are really what makes the business,” he says. “We want them to have the same values that the ownership has. This comes from working with them every day and developing them.”
Four decades of business
Bamdas started working at the original RIVA Motorsports location when he was in high school. His dad, Steve Bamdas, opened RIVA Motorsports in 1979 in Pompano Beach, Florida, and he and his wife, Lynn, are still involved in the family business. Senior Bamdas, who is in his 80s, visits the dealership once or twice a week.
The dealership originally carried Yamaha motor scooters, which allowed for an easy addition of the Yamaha watercraft segment in 1987. In 1995, The dealer group opened a second location, RIVA Motorsports & Marine of the Keys, in Key Largo. In 2010, RIVA Motorsports of Miami was opened. Today, over 200 people are employed between the four locations.
The dealer group also includes partner Mike Martin. He was a longtime employee of Riva Motorsports and is an ownership partner of the Miami, Key Largo, and now Space Coast dealership locations. “He worked for us for many years and showed his dedication,” Bamdas explains. “We needed a highly productive person to lead the Key Largo store. We sent Mike there with some ownership in the company and he did a fantastic job there. When we decided to open the Miami store, we continued that ownership relationship with him.” Mike is now the managing partner of RIVA Miami, Key Largo, and Space Coast.
The original RIVA Motorsports store is the largest location and the home base for RIVA Racing. “Riva Racing is our aftermarket parts manufacturing and distribution business,” Bamdas says. “We are the leader in personal watercraft performance parts and accessories. There are about 40 employees that are involved in the RIVA Racing division of RIVA Motorsports.”
Bamdas started RIVA Racing in 1992. “At the time, personal watercraft aftermarket was 100 percent based off of the Kawasaki brand,” he explains. “When Yamaha came out with its watercraft in 1987, the existing aftermarket kind of ignored Yamaha. I saw the void in the market, and we were a Yamaha watercraft dealer, so I hired good development people and got a race budget from Yamaha in 1993. We had the Yamaha factory race team on the PWC side based at RIVA for over 10 years.”
In the early 2000s, as RIVA Racing grew, Bamdas oversaw the company’s development into a multi-brand manufacturer and distributor. The company began manufacturing parts for Yamaha, Sea-Doo, and Kawasaki. A new facility for RIVA Racing is currently under construction and scheduled to open in December.
So, while RIVA Racing continues to grow, so does the dealer group’s footprint across Florida. And Bamdas explains, “We are definitely looking at other points, we’re always looking at other opportunities.”