Located a mile from Lake Ray Hubbard in Rockwall, Texas, Classic Powersports of Rockwall caught the attention of automotive industry vets, Mike and Lisa Ward. Impressed by the dealership’s location, brands and business culture, the Wards acquired the dealership March 1. They are part of the Classic Chevrolet automotive family, a well-established automotive dealership in Grapevine, Texas.
“Classic is the number one Chevy dealer in the United States and customer satisfaction is their number one goal. So as far as implementing things from them, that’s something we’re highly fixated on,” says Tyler Rager, general manager of Classic Powersports of Rockwall.
Rager has worked at the dealership, formerly known as Rockwall Powersports, since he was 16 years old. He recalls when he worked in shipping and receiving and when the dealership carried one line.
The dealership has been in the same location for 22 years and originally operated out of a tin building next to its current facility which was built in 2001. Over the years, the previous owner, Michael Worrell, acquired other dealerships and worked directly with manufacturers to diversify its product offering. Classic Powersports of Rockwall now carries major lines including Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, CFMoto, KTM and ARGO.
“We were looking for the right store in a growing market,” says Mike Ward. “In our two-year search we contacted a local dealer to see if he would consider selling. Rockwall Powersports has been in business for over twenty years and is very involved within the community. After numerous conversations, we agreed to purchase Rockwall Powersports in the suburbs of the Dallas Fort-Worth area. It was very important to purchase a store that had the right combination of brands.”
The Wards were also impressed by the business culture of the dealership. “The first thing that I noticed was that they’re a tight family here,” says Lisa Ward. “You could tell they care about each other.” She points out the employees’ passion for the industry and how familiar they are with what they sell. “They’re really talented in picking the right type of equipment for a particular customer,” she says.
Training and Promotion
The Wards first focus as new owners will be to increase sales by improving customer service. This starts with training. “We do have training, but we’ll continue our training program with our technicians. We feel that’s a huge part of our success story – gaining sales through our service facility,” Mike Ward says. “In the automobile industry, there are so many different makes and models and you’ve got to be on your training and get everybody certified. So, certification of our employees and making sure they have all the training tools they need will be a focus.”
The Wards will also ensure that every preowned unit and unit with an added accessory is posted online to boost leads. Like most dealerships, Classic utilizes major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
“We are also keeping up with new trends to reach our target specific market,” Rager says. “The younger generation has shifted to alternative platforms, like TikTok for example, that only give us limited time to draw the viewer in and draw them to our dealership. With the vast generational differences of our customer base, it has been a challenge to adapt and overcome the challenges of capturing the attention of our younger 18− to 30−year-old audiences.”
But the dealership is adapting and posts Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, 10−15 second videos, that tend to attract the most attention from the younger generation. “We’ve found that the generic ‘commercial’ type manufacturer ads have far less click through interactions than the more ‘personal’ shots from a cell phone,” Rager says.
The Future of Classic
The Wards are excited to expand the dealerships offering to customers. They will oversee the increase of pickups and deliveries and will eventually provide a mobile service.
“I have been riding bikes since childhood and traveled all over the United States on a bike,” Mike Ward says, “and Lisa has been riding dirt bikes and jet skis since childhood. Lisa and I have lived in the Rockwall area for over 25 years and are very familiar with the customers’ needs and lifestyles.”
For now, the couple is focused solely on Classic Powersports of Rockwall and maintaining its business culture, improving processes and providing employee benefits.
“Being that this building was originally built to be a single line Honda franchise dealer 22 years ago, to now carrying eight different manufacturers under one roof, we definitely struggle at times with growing pains in various areas,” Rager says. “I don’t think there’s a limit to where we want to go with this new venture under the Classic ownership.”
“We want to be able to offer these employees some of the benefits that are available to the larger dealership groups,” Lisa Ward says.
Rager also explains the important of offering health benefits. “In the past, it was feasible to be a small, family-owned business with under 30−40 employees and provide an affordable healthcare plan,” he says. “One of the many benefits that the Classic auto group brings to the table, with their vast network of dealerships and employing thousands of employees throughout the United States, we are able to offer a more reasonable and affordable benefits package to all of our employees.”
Rockwall is the smallest county in Texas based on square mileage, and one of the smallest in population. It is also one of the fastest-growing counties of its size. The Ward’s realize most newcomers are not familiar with the dealership, so community involvement is a priority.
“We want to be involved in the parades or any kind of charity event that will keep our name out there,” Mike Ward says. “With the Classic family, we’re involved in multiple charities and several million dollars a year go out to charities from the Classic family. We’ll definitely be involved