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May 12, 2003 – Parts Pro

May 12, 2003
Filed under Features

BIG VALLEY HONDA MOTORSPORTS (BVH)
2225 Market St.
Reno, Nev. 89502
775/322-4311
www.bigvalleyhonda.com

PARTS MANAGER
Layne Kolbet

THE STORE
40,000 sq. ft. First opened by Richard Thorwaldson, a factory Suzuki rider in the 1970s; bought by Norman Crystal in 1999; managed by Rich Thorwaldson. Carries Honda’s full line of powersports vehicles and Ducati motorcycles. Did carry Cannondale. Also deals in pre-owned bikes. Around 30 employees.

CAREER
Kolbet has worked for BVH since 1989, and started in the parts department with the simple background of being a motorcycle enthusiast.

THE PARTS DEPARTMENT
Nine employees. BVH claims to have the largest selection of aftermarket parts and accessories in Nevada. While BVH has a large walk-in consumer base, Kolbet says the dealership’s service department is his biggest customer. “I treat them just like a regular customer, and I have a devoted parts employee that takes care of all the service department needs,” he says.

MANAGEMENT
BVH uses Lightspeed NXT, and Kolbet says, “Every time they update it, it’s going to work better.” Kolbet handles all of the ordering —special orders and stocking orders; deals with reps; handles paperwork regarding inventory, billing and purchase orders; oversees the parts and accessories displays; and manages employees. Spends every morning walking the dealership with employees, making sure zippers are closed, tags are tucked, product is filled and faced. Stocking merchandise, he says, “is an all-day process.”

LAYOUT
“It’s kind of a unique set-up,” Kolbet says. “When a customer walks in, they’ll see accessories on the walls to the right and left, and aisles that take them through either the bikes or the accessories area and to the parts counter in the back.” Retail Design Associates (RDA) designed the layout of the store with input from Thorwaldson and other key employees.

DEALING WITH DISTRIBUTORS
Orders from Parts Unlimited, Tucker Rocky, White Brothers, Sullivans, Western
Power Sports and Helmet House, among others. Kolbet says he foresees distributor reps becoming a more integral part of a dealership’s parts department as the number of SKUs continues to balloon. While Kolbet says he is generally happy with the service he receives from the distributor reps he has come to know during his 14 years at BVH, he says he is becoming increasingly frustrated with return policies. “Parts has one of the worst return policies going on in the industry now, I believe. I don’t know what’s been happening over there, but it has really become a fiasco. And, as for Tucker Rocky, they seem to be trying to improve themselves, so their returns have become a lot better.”

WHAT’S HOT
BVH sold 35 bikes during a recent Saturday, and Kolbet says the units represented everything from little bikes to Gold Wings to ATVs and scooters. Hot product includes gear from Fox, Thor, AXO, Sinisalo, No Fear, Moose, Arai, HJC, Alpinestars, Joe Rocket and One Industries; and parts from, among others, Honda, HRC, Moriwaki Japan, FMF, Pro Circuit, Universal and N-Style.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE
Kollbet says the most difficult part of his job involves keeping a quality pool of employees. Beyond that, he says, is the constant battle for the consumer’s dollar. “Retailers, no matter what they are selling, are all competing for that same dollar. So, the only thing we really have to offer (to attract that dollar) is customer service. And that’s come to be the most important aspect of the job.”

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