Power Profiles

Beach Sportcycles-Cocoa, Fla.-October 5, 2009

Owned by George Buffaloe and his three sons, Beach Sportcycles is known for its customer service. The three owners, all of whom are very hands-on, are equal partners and are all enthusiasts, says Tim Buffaloe, Internet and unit sales manager. “We all grew up as enthusiasts racing dirt bikes, pretty well known in that area, not only nationwide but somewhat worldwide,” he said. “We’re all here day in and day out, whether it be sales, service, accessories or our off-road race program. We’re all involved.” The race program Buffaloe is referring to is Yamaha’s Amateur Motocross Trackside Support program. He says they go to a number of races and help the riders if their bikes need to be repaired. They’ve been involved in racing long before the dealership opened. Buffaloe says he and his dad were driving back from a race when they decided they wanted to open a store. In 1979, they started a small accessories shop that only occupied about 1,200 square feet. In 1982, they received an approval from Yamaha to be a dealer, except they had to move into a larger facility, which is where they’re located today. The dealership has nine employees, but Buffaloe says at one point they had about 15 employees. They carry Yamaha, Sea-Doo and Can Am.

“Getting people to realize that financing is available,” Buffaloe said. “There are a lot of people who automatically think that what they’re seeing on TV is the case, that financing is very difficult to obtain. So a lot of times they don’t even ask or they don’t come in the door because of it.”

Yamaha is the dealership’s best-selling brand, but there has been a shift in the most popular line. Buffaloe says Yamaha’s YZ line used to be its best selling category, but now the cruisers and scooters have taken the spotlight. Buffaloe says they really saw that shift about two years ago. “We started working somewhat aggressively back in 2000, 2001 getting involved in a lot of the riding clubs in the area,” he said. “We started sponsoring some benefit rides and promoting and arranging those rides. I think that got us more well known in the cruiser market.”

After becoming more involved with the cruiser market, Buffaloe says they really saw the benefit of being able to accessorize the cruisers. “When we started addressing the cruiser sales, we saw that people are chromophobic,” he said. “They buy a lot of chrome and a lot of bolt-on stuff. That was another niche in our product line that we hadn’t addressed too deeply.”

Being that the dealership started as an accessories store, Buffaloe says they do a considerable amount in their parts and service departments. Four years ago, Buffaloe started doing e-commerce through the store’s Web site. “Our e-commerce site has grown each year since we had it,” he said. “It’s getting up to where it’s about 20 percent of our accessory sales. That’s a positive for us.” While a good chunk of Buffaloe’s time goes to that part of the business, he says he could easily devote more time to it. “I probably don’t put as much time in as is required,” he noted. “It’s almost to the point where one person needs to be doing it full time.” The dealership gears a lot of its time to the service department as well. It’s only one of four Yamaha dealers nationwide that assists Yamaha’s amateur riders at select events across the country. Being a part of the Yamaha Amateur Motocross Trackside Support program, Buffaloe says they help the riders with their bikes during the races. “We’re right there to assist them,” he said. “There’s nothing worse than going to a motocross race and falling down in practice and breaking a clutch lever and not being able to ride the rest of the day.”

Although the dealership is promoted through its Web site and traditional media markets, including radio and print advertising, Buffaloe said its most successful form of advertising is “actually being in front of the public at events, shaking hands, showing product whether it’s at a cruiser event or off-road event.” Taking part in Yamaha’s trackside support program has helped them get more in touch with consumers. “We’ve seen a benefit for the dealership in doing that, gaining a lot of clientele and making a lot of friends,” Buffaloe said. “They come up and talk to you, and they can feel comfortable doing business with you.”

“Customer service,” Buffaloe said. “We’re a dealership that strives to be the best in customer service. We’ve been awarded by Yamaha several times for that. We make sure the customers are happy, and we fulfill our obligations to the customer. I make sure I’m there to shake their hand and say thank you. I make sure when that customer leaves here, he feels like he was treated fairly, and I feel that I treated him fairly, as if we were in his shoes coming into the store.”
— Karin Gelschus

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