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Western Colorado dealer takes on expansion and remodel

“My parents started this store about 30 years ago,” says James Wells Jr., general manager of All-Terrain Motorsports of Grand Junction, Colorado. “Both of my parents were enthusiasts coming out of college, which is when they started the business. We’ve been on powersports products our whole lives.”

His parents, James Sr. and Jacki Wells, started the business selling units out of their garage and James Jr. says they have continuously grown ever since. They opened their first location in Grand Junction, Colorado, and have recently expanded nearby. The owners are still involved and, along with James Jr., two sons-in-law also work at the family business.

Pictured left to right are James Well Sr., owner of AllTerrain Motorsports, Everett Branscom, sales manager at Triumph, James Wells Jr., general manager of All-Terrain Motorsports, Ricky Carmichael, former professional motocross and stock car racing driver, Daniel Oest, service manager and Anthony Sours, events and ambassadors manager of Triumph. Photos courtesy of All-Terrain

James Jr. says that the biggest benefit of working with family is that most decisions can be made on the spot, so things get done quickly. “Whether it comes to helping a customer with an issue or a discrepancy like price matching a dealership or getting a deal done, we don’t have to dance around or wait to get back to anybody,” he says. “We can make a call right on the spot and take care of business instantly as opposed to bigger groups that have multiple owners and multiple targets that they might have to hit.”

“There’s a lot of buying and selling going on within the industry,” he continues. “Just like anywhere, we’ve had plenty of opportunities and we could have sold the dealership, but we chose to be buyers instead of sellers because we enjoy doing it so much.”

The Wells recently purchased an existing Can-Am, Ski-Doo, Lynx and GasGas dealership in Rifle, Colorado, about an hour from the Grand Junction location. “We’re in the middle of remodeling that building right now, and we’ll have a grand opening,” Wells says. The dealership was acquired in November of 2023 and is open while remodeling takes place.

All-Terrain Motorsports expanded to Rifle, Colorado, in November.

Between the two locations, All-Terrain Motorsports employs a team of about 80 people. More than 70 of those employees work at the Grand Junction location, which carries most major brands.

Marketing the motorcycle segment

“We just broke ground yesterday and we’re adding an additional 7,500 square foot, two-story motorcycle showroom,” Wells says about the Grand Junction location. This will increase the dealership’s square footage to just short of 60,000 square feet on the eight-acre lot.

“We do very well with snowmobile and side-by-sides, but we’re trying to grow the motorcycle side. In Mesa County, the motorcycle industry is fairly small,” he explains, so the additional square footage will be dedicated to the motorcycle segment.

“We’ve sold more snowmobiles in two months than we’ve sold motorcycles in an entire year. There are more people that can ride a motorcycle than a snowmobile and they’re a lot cheaper, so we just see a lot of growth opportunity.”

He says the dealership hasn’t peaked in the UTV and snow markets, but after heavily marketing those areas over the last 10 years, the dealership will move its focus to the motorcycle segment for a few years.

Advertising for free

“There’s a big opportunity on social media, I think, within the next 10 years,” Wells says. “I think dealers that are proactive on [social media] are going to reap a lot of benefits over the next decade with new buyers and younger buyers coming into the market.”

He says the dealership receives the most interaction on Instagram and Facebook and that Instagram Reels (videos posted on the platform) make the biggest impression. He also shares that it is necessary to post original content, whether dealers post a video highlighting a unique build or great pricing on a unit.

All-Terrain Motorsports of Grand Junction will soon have an additional 7,500 square feet dedicated to the motorcycle segment, totaling the entire dealership to almost 60,000 square feet. 

“When you have a viral video, it’s free, it gets your name out, and we do well with it,” Wells says. “It’s hard to put a dollar amount on how much sales you’re actually gaining from it, but for it to cost nothing for your name to reach that many people, it will definitely drive some traffic to your website.”

And employees don’t have to spend much time on marketing this way. About 15 employees have access to the All-Terrain Motorsports social media accounts so they can make content throughout the day when it’s convenient. “It doesn’t take much time out of anyone’s day to make a post,” Wells says. “I only sign up with Promo Box if there are financial rewards that tie in with an OEM because it actually looks bad on our page.”

The dealership had its best year in snowmobile sales this year and saw new traffic in the store and Wells credits this to the dealership’s competitive pricing and its use of social media. “We don’t like to lower our prices, but you have to do what you have to do when the conditions aren’t the greatest,” he says. “I would say most of our success comes from our efforts in advertising, specifically on social media.”

Inside the doors of All-Terrain

Wells says that customers buy from the dealership, not only because of price points but also because of its customer service. “We have a 4.8 Google rating, which is not easily attainable, especially for a bigger operation,” he says. “All our employees are very tenured. That’s been probably the biggest driver in customer service and sales – having employees that are very knowledgeable and know how to take care of business and customers without needing their hands held.”

About 30 employees have worked at the dealership for over 10 years and 15 employees, mostly management, have worked at the dealership for over 20 years.

More than 70 employees work at the All-Terrain Motorsports Grand Junction location. 

“I feel like everyone has a lot of fun working here,” Wells says. “We’re very flexible on time off or if an employee needs to do something with family or leave early or come in a little late for any reason. Having a very seasoned staff makes it a lot easier to want to stay in the industry.”

While the dealership has seasoned technicians, finding new certified technicians to hire as the business grows is difficult. Wells says there doesn’t seem to be a lot of new technician talent in the powersports and automotive industries, which is a problem for the growth of individual businesses and the industry.

Shop talk

Despite this, Wells’ outlook for 2024 is optimistic. The dealership reported growth in January over the last few January months and is glad to see that inventory is more readily available. Although he says that many dealers likely feel overstocked, “As soon as the weather turns, as far as off-road stuff goes, that gets a lot busier between February and September.”

“We sell fun and it’s great to sell a product and a service that people enjoy doing. It’s not calling to get your hot water heater fixed. Anyone looking to purchase the products we sell are generally excited to be a part of the industry or to get a new vehicle if they’re already in the industry.”

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