Power Profiles

Allsport – Decatur, AL – March 10, 2008

2608 Beltline Rd. SW
Decatur, Ala. 35601
Steve Armstrong
A single spark can set an entire forest on fire, just as a single experience can ignite an entire life of enthusiasm for a pursuit. Couple that enthusiasm with a knack for business and you get Steve Armstrong, a man who continuously strives to create new powersports enthusiasts every day. His passion for motorcycles bloomed as a young racer in the late 1960s and early ’70s. The enjoyment Armstrong devrived from those early days on the road led him to open his own dealership in 1974. His aim to pass that feeling on to others is prevalent throughout Allsport. He doesn’t hire anyone who doesn’t participate in motorsports in some form or another, from his sales team to his service personnel. The Decatur, Ala., dealership holds a number of riding events throughout the year to help customers further enjoy their products, and he estimates Allsport is into its third generation of buyers, thanks to a loyal base repeatedly wooed with the caliber of experience Armstrong and his team offer. “I was lead to (dealership ownership) through love of the sport,” Armstrong said. “Having raced motorcycles, I just decided I wanted to be a Yamaha dealer after college.” After nearly 25 years in business, Allsport is a mainstay in the community. The single location, 12,000-square-foot dealership carries Can-Am, Kawasaki, Polaris, Sea-Doo, Triumph and Yamaha product. Armstrong has faith in UTVs, carrying lines from four dealers. Allsport also stocks ATVs, motorcycles, scooters and PWC.
Although Allsport has many little factors it is working to overcome, Armstrong is primarily worried some people might be forced out of riding or might not get into the sport at all because of current economic conditions. “Increased prices in gasoline, economic downturns and dollar devaluations mean some people might have reduced amounts of disposable income because of their operating expenses as families,” Armstrong said. “They don’t have as much to deal with as far as the fun aspect of things.”
“Christmas business of course has brought up the sales of small ATVs and small motorcycles,” Armstrong said. “Small dirt bikes in particular. They outsold ATVs for the first time this year. That will feed larger motorcycle sales, as we’ve seen in the past. We’ve seen a little downturn in business in the fall, but I think that’s been true across the board.” In recent months, Allsport also has sold a lot of complete motocross riding outfits, largely because people are more safety conscious, Armstrong says.
Competition, both organic and OEM-assisted, has been a hot topic at Allsport and has had an effect on some customers’ shopping habits, Armstrong says. “The selling arena is very crowded,” he said. “Newer brands are taking market share from the older ones. It’s driven our profit margins down. That’s our biggest obstacle lately.”
Parts and accessories sales increased at Allsport during 2007, along with clothing and helmet sales. Armstrong credits the success to consumers pouring dollars into what they have instead of buying new and changing styles. “People are spending more money maintaining the products they’ve bought, doing rebuilds and maintenance,” Armstrong said. “(PG&A) has been a good profit center for us; probably more profitable in the last year.” The service department prides itself on almost no comebacks and Armstrong called it the backbone of the business. “The (service) department builds a great deal of confidence in our overall dealership. We give preference for our own customer with service appointments.”
“We’re oriented to enjoyment,” Armstrong said. “We want to help (customers) enjoy what they bought from us more.” To achieve that and make sure customers do the same, Allsport holds a number of rider-oriented events throughout the year to get people to engage in powersports, including riding clubs, poker runs and four bike shows a year. The dealership also has a section of its Web site dedicated to new and used powersports buyers, complete with picture and a short purchase-oriented biography.
“Work on your credibility as far as your customer base and how you do business rather than the pricing of units sold,” Armstrong offered. “Sell from quality, not just pricing. There’s one thing I’ve learned: If I ignore big dealers and worry about my customers, people are willing to pay a fair profit to do business with me.”
— Lisa Young

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button