1251 Wadsworth Boulevard
Lakewood, CO 80214
The dealership was founded as 4,500 sq. ft. Lakewood Honda, six blocks south of its current location near Denver. Now in a 30,000 sq. ft., $3 million building. Blumenthal purchased it in 2000, renamed it, and hired prior employee Jack Starr as general manager and previous owner Dave Weinstock as a consultant.
“We call it ‘putting the band back together,’” says Blumenthal. “This was a really nice building, but we’re constantly upgrading it. Over the past two-and-a-half years we’ve put $140,000 into our showroom and offices. We added gridwall, lighting, and displays. The contractors are finishing executive, finance, and sales manager offices as we speak.”
Carries Honda (full lineup except PWC), Bombardier ATVs, Sea-Doo PWC, and Ski-Doo snowmobiles; just received a Suzuki dealer number. “Within the last year we dropped Polaris and Arctic Cat.” Recently named Ski-Doo Dealer of the Year for its district. Largest-selling segment is motorcycle, on- and off-road, then ATV. 32 employees.
Besides the economy, “My other concern is that some of the smaller OEMs will set up anybody as a dealer, which destroys their dealer base. A guy who’s selling out of his house or non-powersports business doesn’t have the overhead that a mega-dealer does. And he doesn’t offer the service that should go along. It gives that OEM a bad name if the dealer can’t order parts or fix something because he doesn’t have properly trained service technicians. I never mind going head to head with a good, high-quality dealer.”
Revving up sales at RPM: the Honda VTX 1300 cruiser motorcycle, CR250 motocrosser, and the GL1800 — the dealership sponsors two Gold Wing Clubs, plus Women on Wheels. “We have a really strong base of Gold Wing customers, but we’re trying to expand everything,” says Blumenthal. “Now that we’ve added Suzuki, I assume those GSX-R sportbikes are going to be big sellers.
“Ski-Doo has introduced the REV snowmobile lineup, and those are drawing huge interest. Last year we carried three lines of snowmobiles — Arctic Cat, Polaris, and Bombardier — and had horrible snow. We had late snow this year and focused on one brand, and outsold the previous season. We’re enjoying having one OEM with which to file warranties, do co-op advertising, and order parts. It’s easier on us.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Blumenthal says RPM’s varied clientele includes men, women, 18-year-olds, and Baby Boomers. “The data is all over the board. It does seem that more people are financing than in the past. People are hoarding their money and financing with interest rates as low as they are.”
Since it’s just seven hours from Lake Powell, Utah, RPM feels the effects of the PWC battles there. “It seems they want to ban watercraft and snowmobiles everyplace they can,” says Blumenthal. “We work through on-line campaigns and ask customers to sign petitions on our counters.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
RPM’s six full-time service technicians are all factory-certified, and the dealership has reached Bombardier’s highest level of platinum certification. Also two service writers and one service manager. “We have four Parts Counterpeople, one guy in back, a shipping and receiving guy, an assistant manager, and a manager.” RPM does not solicit mail-order business.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Enjoy the industry while it’s up; plan for when it’s down,” advises Blumenthal. “Denver usually rides the economic wave a little easier than other places, but is getting its payback now. Unemployment is going crazy, yet the residential market is still strong. It doesn’t make any sense.”