1645 Walton Drive
Burlington, Wash. 98233
Pete Bengs, Bill Camaron and Gary Lawzer.
The dealership was on its way out in the early 1990s until Bengs, Camaron and Lawzer formed a partnership and bought the place in 1992, Camaron said. They moved to a new location on Interstate 5 in 1996 and have since expanded three times to 30,000 sq. ft. The dealership also has a warehouse on a nearby lot. Skagit Powersports carries new and used ATVs, motorcycles, PWCs and snowmobiles at the store. Customers can find Ducati, Gas Gas, Kawasaki, KTM, KYMCO, Moto Guzzi, Suzuki and Yamaha vehicles. Skagit Powersports has 25 full-time employees.
“Probably land-use issues, like everybody else,” Camaron said. “Traditionally, the off-highway vehicle enthusiasts haven’t been very politically active, they’ve been happy to just ride. (Off-roading opponents) have much more time and energy to prevent people from driving off road.” Teaching enthusiasts how to properly approach the government will go a long way in doing something about the situation, Camaron said.
Over the holiday season, small ATVs were big sellers at the dealership. They’ve turned into a boon for Skagit and are great because parents can watch their children ride in their own back yards, Camaron said. Off-road and motorcycle exhaust kits have been popular with customers as well.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“It seems like the pendulum has swung back toward sport bikes,” Camaron said. “It had been cruisers, but that sort of waned. I don’t think there’s any bad ATV niche. PWCs are kind of nice and stable now. You can almost predict how many you’ll sell.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Changes are in the works for Skagit’s service department. After paying greater attention to sales and, more recently, parts and accessories as profit centers, the dealership will be monitoring its service department, looking for ways to make it more profitable. “You have to make that whole area really efficient and profitable if you really want to keep growing,” Camaron said. Skagit Powersports is home to seven service technicians.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Skagit Powersports’ spring open house shuts down the neighborhood, drawing 3,000-4,000 people for the past several years, Camaron said. There are trials and demonstrations, powersports personalities signing autographs, a meal and much more. “I make a lot of money by doing events,” Camaron said. “It seems to work better than doing endless advertising.”
Another dealership promotion that has worked exceedingly well is its mobile store. Two store staff travel to motocross events throughout the Northwest in two trailers, one for parts and accessories and the other for service. At an event, racers can get anything they need, Camaron said. While it was a big expense to start, the store is now self-supporting and has received wide support from the industry. “We used to have to pay to vend and now they pay us,” Camaron said.
WORDS OF ADVICE
Diversity is the way to go for Skagit Powersports. “Try to do as many things as you can, Camaron said. “It’s very dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket nowadays. One brand isn’t going to serve the public. You need as much stuff as you can. Of course there’s a lot of difficulties with that…you’ve got to make them all happy. It’s a balancing act.”