May’s Cattie Shack
18 Sweet Valley Road
Hunlock Creek, PA 18621
Gary and Cathy May, Jason May, son
May’s Cattie Shack opened its doors in October of 2002. The May family, had been active ATV riders for years and were looking to establish a dealer to operate along with the family auto repair shop. “We’d been looking to get into it since about 1998,” recalls Gary May. “We looked around and seeing what we could get as far as brands, but situations weren’t right until about 2002 as far as what we could take on or even what we wanted to take on.” Mays only carries Arctic Cat ATVs.
When the May’s opened the uniquely named Cattie Shack, their business grew quickly; they sold 55 machines in the first six months and moved 140 machines in their second year. Thay are on pace to match that number again this season. May’s has been awarded Arctic Cat’s Top Cat dealer award the past two years. The building itself is roughly 6,800 sq. ft. and is evenly divided between the Cat dealership and the auto repair shop. The 3,400 sq. ft. that make up the ATV dealership is evenly divided between showroom, shop and warehouse. Mays plan to add to the showroom in the next year, somewhere between 800 and 1,000 sq. ft. Beside the family, the Mays employ one full time and one part time person.
“Naturally, the first thing is liability,” says May. “The way things operate today. I don’t know if that’s a concern as much as a normal part of doing business. Everybody faces it. The other one is development of more riding area. As far as the longevity of the sport and the usage of ATVs, naturally would be the development of riding areas.”
“Our biggest seller overall is the 400 4X4 Automatic with the fully independent suspension,” says May. “Getting better is the 650 Twin. We keep a good parts inventory and a good accessories inventory. Snowplows are a big seller, I’d say approximately 65% of the machines go with a snowplow on them. As far as other accessories, the biggest sellers are bumpers, winches, carryall baskets and chain saw holders.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“I think in our area here, we get somewhat of a mixture,” says May. “There’s the hunting (market) and a lot of people buy them for snow removal (and to) use them around their property; that would be the two biggest buyers in our area.”
“I’ve haven’t been aware of any,” says May. “Of course, without public trails real close to us here, we have landowner issues.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
“We do service on other brands of ATVs, but we pretty much stick to ATVs at this point,” says May. “For (the ATV dealer business) it’s strictly done by our family. Jason and myself handle sales, parts and repair. My wife does a little bit with parts and sales, but primarily is administration. It gets a little rough because we do a pretty good size volume as far as Arctic Cat is concerned, but so far, we’ve been able to handle it. I have to be honest, as far as four-wheelers, we don’t get a tremendous amount of service on them. They (have) a two-year warranty, and if we are not overloaded with work based on that, you know you’re not having a lot of trouble with them, because you know you’d see them. We probably have a good 200 machines still under warranty, and we’re not overloaded with work.” May estimates that service makes up 10-20% of total revenue
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
“We do a local weekly paper that’s been in the area for a long time and has been very successful for us,” says May. “Our first two years in business we did a very heavy schedule on the radio and TV. One of the local television stations has a dedicated outdoors show called Pennsylvania Outdoor Life. It’s a target audience, so we’ll do some here and there on that. We do some local radio stations and we’ve done cable television, where you pick your shows. We’ve done some outdoor shows and American Chopper, stuff like that. We also go out and take machines our to local fairs and things like that. We’ve done an (open house) the last two years. We’re supposed to have one in the works right now.” The Web site has been up for about two years, and is designed and hosted through Arctic Cat’s dealer site contractor, 50 Below.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“I guess for us personally, it’s to have good business practices,” says May. “Be straight up with the customer, provide good service and have a good inventory. We always took that approach with our business.” psb
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