4181 Dix Highway
Lincoln Park, Mich. 48146
“The music is going. Everybody says good morning to everybody. Everybody has a good attitude here all the time. Our reps will come in and say, ‘We couldn’t wait to come down and see you,’” said Al Bruhowzki, owner of Bright Powersports, and adds he and his staff hear a lot of people say there is something different about Bright Powersports than other dealerships. The cheery atmosphere has helped turn the once dismal dealership into a successful business. Bruhowzki bought the dealership four years ago , but when he purchased it, it only had one portable typewriter. “Right now we have about 25 computers. We came in with a staff of 16, and now we have little over 30,” he said. “We sell about 2,500-2,800 units a year.” Bright Powersports is currently the No. 1 dealer in Michigan for Suzuki, Kawasaki and Yamaha, and it’s No. 15 for Suzuki in the United States. Bright Powersports sells all powersports and has a long list of manufacturers, including BRP and Arctic Cat.
Along with a sluggish market comes difficulties getting consumer loans approaved. “We are really having some difficulty with the finance resources out there because there’s been a lot of bad credits and charge offs,” he said. Bright Powersports has good financing companies, Bruhowzki says, but challenges have risen due to the finance companies cutting back, resulting in a slight decrease in dealership sales.
While no specific models stand out, sport bikes and ATVs have been big sellers for Bright Powersports. Among all its manufacturers, Bruhowzki says Suzuki is the dealership’s most successful line with BRP near the top as well. “It just depends which one is the best that month,” he said.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
With the Internet easily accessible and customers so Web savvy, Bruhowzki says Bright Powersports ensures its Web site is informative to its customers. The store’s Web site provides information on catalogs, financing and nearly every department as well as customer reviews.
PARTS AND SERVICE
“Service is naturally something you want to be good at,” Bruhowzki said. “With a lot of our competition, it takes 2-3 weeks to get in for service. If you call us, we’ll get you in within two days.” To accomplish this, Bruhowzki has three technicians and a painter who are extremely organized. “One mechanic might have a three-horse, and if he needs to order a part, he orders the part and goes onto the next hoist,” Bruhowzki said. “Sometimes we might be waiting on a part for two weeks, but in the meantime we get 20 other units in and out.” Bruhowzki says Bright Powersports does about 600 hours in service every month. “If they have a service problem, we make sure it’s really taken care of the way it should be taken care of,” he said. Bright Powersports sells a few units out of state, and if the out-of-state customer has a problem, Bruhowzki says it doesn’t bother them to drive 200-300 miles to fix whatever it might be. The parts department also does extremely well. Bruhowzki says the dealership does well more than six digits per month.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Bruhowzki says the dealership advertises the way many others do: billboards and magazines. Billboards seem to have the best return though, so Bruhowzki spends a lot of his budget on them. “There are some times in the summer months where we’ll have 20 billboards,” he said. However, Bright Powersports tries different approaches with its advertising, including marketing on the sides of buses in the inner city. “We try to change it up a little bit,” he noted. “You constantly have to keep going after it (advertising) and keep changing.” Bruhowzki says he mixes the advertising up because, “You only need half your advertising, but you never know which half you need.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Get rid of all your bills; don’t try to live real high. You want to get everything paid off; you want to get your building paid off, and you don’t want to carry a lot of floor plan,” suggested Bruhowzki and adds to get as much out of your staff as possible. “You have to keep your staff happy. Without a good staff, you’re nothing.”
— Karin Gelschus