851 Commercial Avenue Southeast
New Philadelphia, OH 44663
Founded in 1974; became an exclusive BMW franchise in 1984. 7,000-sq.-ft. dealership, at present location for two years, five miles from previous site near the city of Canton. Sells about 60 new motorcycles per year (plus used). Five employees.
“My greatest concern is that we’re moving awfully fast with technology,” says Robinson. “I hope that the customers will want all the technology that we’re coming out with.” But does that add to the price of the motorcycles? “We’ve been pretty fortunate — we haven’t had any major pricing increases for several years.”
Robinson says at one time he could easily pinpoint hot sellers, “But now it’s kind of a toss-up — a lot of different models are selling well. Of course, everybody is anticipating the brand-new-for-2005 R1200 GS model, which is due soon” (and for which he is taking deposits). “But in 2003 and 2004, the K1200 RS and the K1200 GT have been really good for us. We sell a lot of jackets and riding pants, especially Teknic and Marsee, and of course some BMW apparel.” And what else for the high-tech Beemer crowd? “A lot of electrical equipment, like different rear braking lights and driving lights.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Robinson says his customers’ occupations run from lawn caretakers to doctors, with an average age of 35 to 40. “I’ve seen upswings and downswings, and right now motorcycling is doing quite well. People used to want pretty much a basic bike. Now they’re more into touring and gadgets, like electronic cruise control and windshields.” Robinson adds that Mathias Cycle has sold more motorcycles in the last two years to women than since the dealership has been in business. “The ladies have discovered that this is a lot of fun, and that they can do it.”
“As streetbike riders, we’re pretty lucky,” notes Robinson. “This is a small community, so we don’t have a lot of negatives — like not being allowed to ride in parks. Of course, dirtbikes are facing land closures.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Robinson says that the Mathias Cycle service department is “one of the best in Ohio. Our two full-time service technicians are factory-certified.” Three folks help out in parts, including Robinson himself.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Mathias runs an ad in the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America Anonymous Book. “We also promote our dealership in local club magazines, Cycle Trader, and the radio stations out of Youngstown,” says Robinson. Although no club meets at the dealership presently, that may change in the near future. “And we promote rider training as much as possible. We feel that’s one of our best avenues for new riders, and it’s not a bad idea for some of the more experienced riders to take it, since they always learn something new.” The dealership does not have a Web site.
WORDS OF ADVICE
Robinson’s advice is short and to the point: “Acknowledge every customer who comes through the door.” psb