Intimate setting, bold products highlight spring show
Last month, Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties hosted their most successful NVP and Product Expo in over 20 years by hitting a high-water attendance mark.
While their 2018 Helmet and Apparel Show won’t even approach the massive crowds seen in Indianapolis, the 70-stop, nationwide tour gives dealers and their employees a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the new 2018 products from the Parts Unlimited house brands.
At the Minneapolis stop, a number of dealers streamed in-and-out of the hotel-based showroom, creating a busy — but not overcrowded — atmosphere. The dealers took in presentations from Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties’ product experts, and took advantage of the incentives offered for making bulk orders. For Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties regional sales manager Rob Oliva, the true value in the show is the opportunity to educate dealers and their employees.
“There’s not an opportunity like this to bring those products close to them, so they can see a variety of products and talk to the sales reps themselves and really get some in-depth training,” Oliva told Powersports Business.
He noted that while a number of dealers at the helmet and apparel show had also attended the NVP and Product Expo in Indianapolis, the closer proximity allows dealers to bring members of their sales team that didn’t go to the NVP and Product Expo to come into the helmet and apparel show to learn the key selling points of the new products.
In addition, Oliva believes that the variety of styles and color options present at the show allows dealers to see everything that they offer, and thus, make a better purchasing decision.
A number of innovative products were on hand for the meeting. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Thor MX released a number of new styles for its jersey line — from classic to crazy. Dealer interest was drawn to the clean look of the 50th Anniversary retro offering so much that the lineup had already sold out. However, one couldn’t help but notice some of their bolder patterns for their 2018 jerseys, including a Technicolor cat pattern that Marvin Musquin has turned heads with on the 2018 AMA Supercross tour.
The unique cat design caught the eye of Wayne Bedeaux, co-owner of Leo’s South in Lakeville, Minnesota. He said that it reminded him of some of the crazier designs from Fox in the 1980s that hit the mark with a lot of consumers (but you won’t see him out wearing one any time soon).
Bedeaux, who has been with Leo’s South since 1981, was admittedly more interested in the new Alpinestars jackets. Leo’s South, which has partnered with Parts Unlimited since the early 1980s, has had a lot of success with the Alpinestar and Icon brands, according to Bedeaux.
“I like the variety of products that Parts has to offer — a lot of big house brands that sell, and the pricing is competitive,” Bedeaux added. “They also have very knowledgeable people, and they do a lot to support the industry.”
Of course, the Parts Unlimited Helmet and Apparel show also attracted newer clients. Jeff Doering of Pony Motors LLC. in Winona, Minnesota, was checking out gear from house brands Arctiva, Moose Racing and Z1R, which he says are his three biggest-selling brands. Doering’s engine repair business is in its second year of buying from Parts Unlimited, and is looking to expand its apparel offerings. While he noted that adding apparel has doubled the company’s bottom line in the first year, Doering admits that it’s not easy to keep up with all the new products — one of the reasons he made time to go to the show.
“It’s been a huge thing to have Parts Unlimited, but it’s a lot of work — there’s a lot of stuff they offer, and a lot of do’s and don’ts to learn,” Doering said. He was checking out Z1R’s 2018 apparel line and items such the all-new all-denim shirts, denim vests and (highly popular) Duke flannel shirt. All three items, which have front conceal pockets and Metal snap & concealed zipper front closure, have had a positive reception with dealers, according to product specialist Darren Carlson.
“The conceal-and-carry pockets are a big selling point with a lot of people, but the single most popular item from dealers has been the flannel. That style is really in now and they like the features at that price point,” Carlson added.