Power Profiles

Magnum Powersports – Petersburg, MI – Feb. 10, 2003

6923 Summerfield Road
Petersburg, MI 49270

Richard and Cathie Perron, and son Brett Vanhuysen

14,000-sq.-ft. dealership founded in summer 2000. “We all played with these products our whole lives, but we weren’t involved in sales until now,” says Vanhuysen. Yamaha-only franchise, carrying the full line. “But we don’t carry golf carts or boat motors.” Largest-selling segments are ATV and motorcycle. “ATVs sell year-’round here. We’re the third-largest Yamaha snowmobile dealer in Michigan, but the numbers aren’t anywhere near ATVs or motorcycles.” Also offers heated indoor storage. Seven full-time and five part-time employees.

“My biggest concern is potential snowmobile sales, because of the lack of snow,” says Vanhuysen. “A lot of other local dealers talk about the economy being down, but people seem to find ways to buy. Our sales have steadily increased ever since we’ve opened.” He adds that all brands seem to be getting better, up to a similar level of quality.

Hot sellers at Magnum include the Raptor 660 and the Grizzly 660 4×4 ATVs; the Star street motorcycle lineup; and the 250F and 450F four-stroke dirtbikes — “we’re seeing them all over the place these days,” says Vanhuysen; and the new RX-1 four-stroke snowmobile.

“Yamaha had a new four-stroke PWC last year that has been hot, although this year’s GP1300 — which is a fuel-injected, two-person, high-performance machine — is going to be really popular, too.”
Magnum also carries Dinli small-displacement ATVs, Brister’s fun karts, and a line of road racing karts. “We took on karts from the beginning, because that’s something my dad was really into, and we’ll continue. The Midwest, Southern California, and a couple of Southern states are the biggest areas for karting in the country. Karts were huge in the 1970s and early 1980s, then really died out, but a lot of new tracks have opened up around us. In Europe, people know kart racing drivers like we know NASCAR drivers.”

Magnum carries plenty of snowmobile parts and accessories in the Winter, “but I don’t carry many ATV accessories, because Cabela’s is right up the road. We’re one of the only dealers that stocks the items we do.” Other hot sellers are sportbike clothing, dirtbike apparel and gear, helmets, and accessories for Yamaha Star streetbikes.

Vanhuysen believes the key to selling accessories is having them in stock. “They will order hard parts, but if you don’t have the accessories…So I’ve stocked up over the last couple of years. Streetbike and cruiser buyers want tons of accessories to dress up the motorcycles. We have a lot of motocross tracks around. The guys who buy dirtbikes for racing don’t buy a lot of stuff for their bikes, but they do purchase boots, helmets, and apparel for themselves.”

“Michigan’s a huge outdoor-recreation state, so we don’t see a lot of problems here,” says Vanhuysen. “I would say that in the future — because there are so many lakes in Michigan — we’ll start seeing issues affecting watercraft, especially given the 2006 standards. Yamaha bringing out that new four-stroke PWC last year was a step in the right direction.”

“Parts and service keep you going when major-unit sales are down,” says Vanhuysen. Magnum has had the same Yamaha-certified Technicians — three full-time, including a Service Manager, and one part-timer who does maintenance —since opening. “We’ve had all kinds of positive feedback from customers, which is nice because that can be a scary segment of the business. In parts I have one full-time and two part-time employees, and I float between sales and parts — wherever I can help.”

“The best advice came from my dad, who’s owned several business,” says Vanhuysen. “Customer service must be your number-one priority. We hear horror stories all the time about things that happened to our customers in other dealerships. We absolutely do not do that here. We never let anybody walk around the store for more than a couple of minutes without asking if they need help.”


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