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State 8 Motorcycle and ATV

March 31, 2004
Filed under Features

CONTACT
100 Cuyahoga Falls Industrial Parkway
Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44264
330/929-8123
www.state8.com

OWNERS
The Compton Family

BUSINESS PROFILE
25,000-sq.-ft. facility that became a franchised dealership in 1995. Near Akron and Cleveland. Currently constructing an 8,000-sq.-ft. addition. Carries Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha, and Aprilia (full lines except personal watercraft and snowmobiles). Largest-selling segment is streetbike. Annual gross revenue of $20 million; sold nearly 3,000 units last year. 40 employees.

GREATEST CONCERN
“My biggest concern is that we see profits eaten up by the manufacturers,” says Kirk Compton. “One of the OEMs is continually making dealer reserves larger and larger. My F&I department income has dropped dramatically as the manufacturers have gotten into financing. Our profit centers seem to be very rigid and shrinking. There’s a lot of erosion.”

WHAT’S HOT?
“Gold Wings always sell well,” says Compton. “We do quite well with sportbikes — the Suzuki GSXR lineup, the Yamaha R1 and R6, and the Honda CBR.” Large-displacement cruisers are a big seller at State 8, also. “As for ATVs, every year it depends on what’s new and hot. The Yamaha Raptor has been. Now we see the brand-new Honda TRX-450 getting the buzz at the moment. The big Yamaha Grizzly and the Honda Rincon always do well for us.” Best-sellers include HJC and Arai helmets, and Joe Rocket gear.

CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“I know everybody says motorcycle-customer demographics are older, and we have those customers too, but we certainly do well with the younger guys,” notes Compton. “I think that’s because we’re a little more involved with sportbikes. The Internet plays a bigger part in what customers are doing now. A couple of hours at night on the Internet before they come shopping, and they’re veritable experts. I’ve invested a huge sum of money in training this year — the entire store. My staff is better-trained than any dealership around.”

PARTS AND SERVICE
State 8 has nine staffers in parts and nine in service. Besides the 8,000-sq.-ft. addition, the biggest change is that the dealership has gone into bar coding and inventorying by bin and location. “We needed the extra room for that,” explains Compton. “We provide indoor storage for our customers when they have their motorcycle serviced. As we’ve seen the price of motorcycles climb, and people don’t want the old Mom-and-Pop store where motorcycles waiting to be serviced get pushed in every night and out the next day.”

WORDS OF ADVICE
“Become efficient,” advises Compton. “There are so many manufacturers’ programs that the bookkeeping is unbelievable. And without good books, you can’t make decisions in your business. We have five-and-a-half dedicated bookkeepers, including the CFO.”
— Julie Filatoff

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