Power Profiles

Cities Edge Kawasaki/Suzuki – Chaska, MN – June 28, 2004

Cities Edge Kawasaki/Suzuki

972 Highway 212 East
Chaska, MN 55318-3414

Christopher and Mary Smith

15,000-sq.-ft. dealership was founded in 2002 from an existing store with plans to expand in the next two years. Carries Kawasaki’s and Suzuki’s full line, including Jet Ski PWC, plus MZ scooters. Largest-selling segment is street motorcycle. In its first year, Cities Edge was named one of Kawasaki’s top 10 new dealerships. Currently has among the highest Kawasaki PWC sales in the Midwest. 14 employees.

The greatest concern of management team member Clark Peterson is mass-production. He also hopes that the manufacturers continue to support the dealers, including “racing and the more extreme side of powersports, because that relates to 40% of the products here and draws in young people. It’s a matter of involvement and awareness. When the OEMs make appearances, hold demo rides, or come out as a factory to an event, they support and interact more with the dealers. The more the manufacturers do, the better the outcome for the products.”

Hot styles in the Cities: The Kawasaki Prairie 700cc ATV, the Suzuki Volusia 800cc cruiser, the Kawasaki ZX-10R sportbike, and — believe it or not — stand-up PWC. “We sell 15 to 18 Kawasaki stand-ups per year; we’re very heavily into those,” says Peterson. “Watercraft sales are blowing up — I can see the upswing, and it’s just awesome.” The target market for the MZ 49cc “moped-legal” scooters include 15- to 60-year-olds. “Classics to sport models, scooters are huge right now.” Cities Edge stocks a lot of Parts Unlimited products. “In motocross gear, the Thor line moves excellently. In helmets we carry HJC and Suomy, and both lines move well.”

The dealership — which is on the somewhat rural western outskirts of Minneapolis/St. Paul, in the backyard of huge Lake Minnetonka — has a widespread customer base that’s not easily typified. “We also have an adjacent John Deere store,” notes Peterson. “Even with the economy as it is right now, I see people spending more on accessories, upgrading to newer machines, and entire families getting into powersports, such as motocross. They are spending more and putting more on credit. We provide factory financing, which is pretty much unbeatable right now.”

With pro-powersports governor Jesse Ventura gone, are any anti-powersports issues coming to the forefront? “Not really,” says Peterson. “The watercraft issues of a couple of years ago have pretty much simmered down, but general ATV awareness is up quite a bit.”

Cities Edge has three full-time and two part-time parts salespeople, plus one service manager, one part-time, and two full-time service technicians. The techs are fully Kawasaki- and Suzuki-certified, and some have been though Yamaha training, so Peterson says they will service all brands.

Cities Edge has a major open house each year in late July, and supports clubs like the Kawasaki Vulcan Riders and Women on Wheels. “We also sponsor the Dungey family, whose three kids are all national-ranked amateur racers with the AMA Amateur Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn Ranch,” says Peterson. The dealership advertises on radio, on TV, and in local newspapers, and utilizes direct mail.

“Every day is a learning experience” is the best advice Peterson says he was given. “We try to not burn out our employees. We give them adequate time off. Our employees are very active in motocross and road racing, so we make sure they have time to do that. We even offer the loan of demo units to keep them happy and knowledgeable. Then they project that to the customers. People who come in here are buying fun, and employee word-of-mouth is huge.” The selling experience is low-key. “Usually we retain the customer and become good friends.” Peterson says employee turnover is low. “If there’s a problem, we on the management team take care of it. Otherwise, everybody pretty much holds their own.” Having come from one of the largest motorcycle dealerships in the country, Peterson appreciates the owners’ backing and recognizes how it contributes to Cities Edge’s success. psb

—Julie Filatoff


If you would like to share your story with the readers of Powersports Business, please contact Julie Filatoff at filatoff@cybermesa.com.

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