1136 Pittsfort-Palmyra Roach
Macedon, N.Y. 14502
Ted Filer started out in the two-wheel business, but not the way you might think. Before opening his own powersports dealership, Filer owned a bicycle shop from 1985-’94. After selling that business, he joined his family’s auto auction firm. After a decade there, he was drawn back into dealing with two-wheelers. Filer had long enjoyed powersports but, as a consumer, never felt the buying experience was up to par with where retailing is in the 20th century. He decided to do what he could to change things through opening his own dealership. It was an opportunity “to do things differently and better,” Filer said. “There was nowhere to go but up.” He initially entered into negotiations with a local dealer. While the pair got on, price wasn’t lining up, so they went their separate ways. Later in his search, Yamaha contacted Filer wondering if he would like to deal in some territory they had available, saying the local dealer he had been in talks with previously had referred him. He scouted the location and bought a Polaris dealership along the way, and BRP approached him to carry its products. By the time Filer’s PowerSports officially opened in Macedon, N.Y., in 2004, Filer was set with motorcycle, ATV and snowmobile offerings. The dealership still carries all three brands, with Sea-Doo most recently added to the mix at the 25,000-square-feet facility. Plans are in the works for an 8,000-square-feet addition.
While Filer is glad to have what he says is a great staff behind him now, that wasn’t always the case during the dealership’s start-up period. So one of his top priorities is finding and retaining quality employees. “Good employees keep the shop running well and keep customers happy,” Filer said. “With more quality people in place during the early days, I think we could have grown more quickly.”
Filer’s PowerSports has mixed sales with a seasonal flux. So for the last month or two, motorcycles have been the most sought-after product at the dealership. The Yamaha V Star 1100 has attracted the most consumers. Can Am ATVs also have drawn the eye (and wallet) of many. The dealership completed a Can Am Spyder demo in July that generated several deposits for the unique three-wheeler.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“I have noticed it’s getting harder to get customers approved for financing and I think that’s changing buying habits to the point where they’re not buying,” Filer said. “Finding good finance channels is going to be our greatest challenge in the next 18 months.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Filer’s PowerSports’ parts and accessories sales have tripled every year since the dealership opened three years ago. “It’s all growing so fast; it’s hard to keep up,” Filer said. The department is getting more floor space, stocking more women’s clothing and holds about 1,000 helmets at any given time, Filer said. The service department holds longer hours than any of its competitors, he added. Customers and noncustomers alike don’t need to make an appointment before bringing in their bike for an inspection. Although finding and keeping quality technicians can be a challenge, Filer thinks the well-equipped, custom-built 4,800-square-feet service area with a radiant heat floor, proper tools and quality ventilation are good draws.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
The dealership’s recently completed Spyder demo drew a lot of attention for the dealership, not only from consumers, but also from two local television stations. A BRP corporate truck rolled into the dealership with 16 Spyders aboard. People could test drive them in the parking lot or take them out for a brief spin on the road. The dealership plans to repeat the week-long demo Aug. 25-30.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Don’t be afraid to make a fair profit,” Filer said. “To take care of customers and employees, you have to make money. Those [people who] don’t understand that, don’t want to be your customers.” Filer also recommends having a mentor in the industry. He credits Bob Weaver, the local dealer he first talked to when trying to get into the industry, with helping him get started and wading through the hard times.
— Lisa Young
Filer’s PowerSports – Macedon, NY – Aug. 13, 2007