As Canadian economy picks up, so does business

By Kate Swanson

Rec-Tech Power Products sees positive growth

After two years of construction and gaining a bit more elbowroom, Rec-Tech Power Products, of Lloydminster, Alberta, is starting to see an increase in foot traffic and positive sales numbers. 

When the price of oil fell to a third of what it once was, Rec-Tech president Alan Lorenz said the dealership’s ag- and oil-based community struggled. “It’s a farming area, but a lot of our customers are oil-based, so it’s knocked the legs out of everyone. It’s starting to pick up this year, thank goodness, but we’ve got a good ways to go yet.”

In October, the dealership moved into an 8,000-square-foot showroom, four times the size of its original space. During the design phase, the dealership worked with Jim Rasmus of Retail Design Associates, who Lorenz said, “was able to look at our plans and suggest changes that we never would have thought of on our own. These changes resulted in much more useful wall space and better traffic flow.”      

With more square footage, the dealership has been able to carry a broader range of product, and Rec-Tech’s service area tripled in size. The traditional parts counter also got a facelift in the new space, breaking up into parts stations positioned on the floor with easier access to customers. 

In addition to gaining a new 8,000-square-foot showroom, Rec-Tech was able to expand its service area to triple its original size. Photos courtesy of Rec-tech Power Products

“Instead of a big long parts counter with a barrier between the customer and our parts staff, now we have little stations that are integrated into the floor itself,” said Lorenz. “It has definitely helped us with both customer engagement and customer service.”

Rec-Tech now has indoor cold storage on site in a two-level building where all of the dealership’s non-current or out-of-season product can be stored. “Having that storage helps builds value in the product. When the customer comes in, it’s not faded or weathered. It shows that we care,” he said. “A lot of non-current sales that the manufacturers have going on, we’ve been able to load up on product, and we’ve got guys coming from miles around. It’s really changed the image of my store.”

Dealership updates don’t have to be big. Lorenz said even small updates, like a popcorn maker and a candy machine for kids who come in with their parents, have added to the customer experience. 

Through monitoring social media and talking with customers, Rec-Tech has learned that the majority of its customers have had previous experience with the dealership or learned about the store through online advertisement. 

“We have completely eliminated radio and television-based advertising,” Lorenz added. The dealership now focuses getting the word out on social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, in addition to its website and Kijiji, the Canadian version of Craigslist. 

Rec-Tech Power Products carries a variety of lines, including ARGO, Can-Am, CFMOTO, Cub Cadet, KTM, Sea-Doo and Ski-Doo.

Rec-Tech carries multiple lines, including ARGO, Can-Am, CFMOTO, Cub Cadet, KTM, Sea-Doo and Ski-Doo. Lorenz said UTVs, ATVs and dirt bikes make up the largest portion of sales. “Can-Am would probably be the anchor because of its multiple lines. You can cover the full season with it, and that makes up the lion’s share of our sales,” he added.

Dirt bike sales have improved over the past year thanks in part to the Midwest Amateur MX League that began three years ago. Instead of traveling for hours across the province for the professional classes, riders now have the option to participate in the amateur league, with races at tracks within two hours of Lloydminster. “It’s fun; the kids love it. And it’s not so stressful, so the parents like it too,” said Lorenz. “We’ve been selling a lot of dirt bikes and gear now. It’s really helped picked up the KTM brand in the area because there are a few core riders with the track in town.”

While Lorenz said the most frequent customer is looking to purchase off-road units, the dealership has seen a large increase in PWC sales in 2017. “PWC has gone crazy this year. We’ve been pulling from surrounding dealers because we’ve been running out,” he said. “I’m guessing because the oil price is down, people can’t buy boats, but they still want to go out and play, and Sea-Doo has the Spark, which is fairly economical.” 

The dealership hosted two PWC demo days this past summer, with a great turnout in attendance and in sales. Without the help of neighboring dealers, Lorenz said Rec-Tech would have sold out of its PWC inventory in July. 

As business continues to improve and the Canadian economy picks back up, Lorenz looks forward to welcoming weekly bike nights back into the dealership’s monthly event calendar. “We would definitely love to get that up and running again. It’s a great community builder, and it also builds up the bike culture in town,” he said.

A year after opening its expanded showroom, Rec-Tech plans to host a customer appreciation event and ride this fall. “We’re putting it together as an appreciation ride so that everybody that bought from us is invited to ride. We’ve got the course mapped out, and we’ll supply a meal as well. It’s not a race; it’s a family-oriented event, and everyone is more than welcome to come.” 


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