4566 North Greenville Road
Greenville, MI 48838
45,000-sq.-ft. dealership founded at the present location 1971. Carries Arctic Cat ATVs and snowmobiles, Bombardier ATVs and Ski-Doo snowmobiles, Polaris ATVs and snowmobiles, and Yamaha ATVs and snowmobiles, plus John Deere consumer and commercial equipment.
“A year ago, a fire burned the building right to the ground,” says Nelson. “We rebuilt in 11 months. We worked out of snowmobile trailers for the first day or two, then got some temporary rental buildings. Within a day we were reordering parts and taking care of customers. We’re an Arctic Cat World Class store now. We gave each brand its own area so there was brand awareness.” 23 employees.
“I’m a little worried about the trail system,” says Nelson. “Areas get sold off or land gets repositioned, then it is shut down to ATVs and snowmobiles. I think the bulk of our customers are enthusiasts who are aware of what’s going on, but they don’t always understand the importance of an association or appreciate the need to take care of the land or follow guidelines.”
“We’ve sold a few of the Bombardier Traxter Max ATVs,” says Nelson. “Not in large numbers, but I think these two-up ATVs are going to fill a nice niche and in time that market will grow as more two-seater units come out.” As for parts and accessories, “the key is, you just have to stock it to sell it. Be committed and have the variety.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Nelson says that Speed Shop reaches out to almost all ages. Greenville is in a rural area with a population of approximately 15,000. “The utility end of the ATV business is where our strength is. We do fairly well with the Polaris Ranger and the John Deere Gator.”
Nelson says restrictions on riding areas have gotten tighter. “We can’t hop on an ATV after work and go ride around much anymore.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Nelson’s Speed Shop has three full-time parts salespeople, since it ships quite a few parts via UPS in response to sales from its web site. “It just comes back to the basics: getting work done in a timely fashion, and having work look right and be right when it’s done.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“There’s no secret,” says Nelson. “Take care of the customer, try to have the parts for them, and be fair with them. Service keeps them coming back — if you’re treating them fairly and making an effort to take care of them