May 5, 2004
Filed under Features
5838 Columbus Pike
Lewis Center, OH 43035
Joyce and Jeff Hinds
In 1991 the Hindses bought the dealership from the previous owner, then moved to the present location in 1996. Currently 20,000 sq. ft. Carries Ducati, Triumph, Aprilia, and Royal Enfield motorcycles; Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Polaris ATVs and motorcycles; small-displacement Dinli ATVs and Extreme Machine motorcycles, scooters, and ATVs; and Kawasaki Jet Ski personal watercraft. Also was a Cannondale dealer. 16 employees.
“One of my major concerns is the individual who is riding but doesn’t have the proper endorsement,” says Eric Moore, service manager. “People are buying machines who aren’t skilled or haven’t taken any Bureau of Motor Vehicles testing to make sure that they are eligible to operate and have been trained properly in the procedures. We do recommend the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course heavily — we have brochures and give customers the Web site address.”
Hot ATVs at Hinds: the Kawasaki 360, Prairie 700, and KZF 400; the Yamaha Grizzly; the Polaris Sportsman series; and the Suzuki LTZ 400 and Eiger. In streetbikes, all models of Triumph are selling well, especially the Bonneville. Fast-moving parts and accessories include aftermarket exhaust systems and helmets.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Moore estimates that the average customer is 30 years of age and has an annual income of $50,000 to $80,000. Lewis Center is a township just north of Columbus. “Many customers are going with the manufacturers’ financing due to the extended credit terms, and they are accessorizing more at the time of sale. I’ve seen more women in the dealership asking questions. A lot of couples buy his-and-hers machines.”
The Hinds customers and staffers often ride in a National Park 90 minutes from the dealership. “One thing that’s beginning to hit home for me, as an off-road rider, is that they are really starting to crack down on decibel levels and ensuring that everyone has the proper permits to ride there,” says Moore. The dealership belongs to the Ohio Automotive Dealers Association.
PARTS AND SERVICE
“We have three parts personnel, and four in service, including myself,” says Moore. “I’m the service manager, service writer, and warranty administrator. It’s not easy having so many brands. Obviously I have technicians who are better at one brand or one type of repair than another, but I try to have everyone work on everything so that it becomes a more well-rounded department.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Once you implement a procedure, stick with it,” advises Moore. “It becomes more
professional in the consumer’s eyes when there’s structure in a powersports business — like at an automotive dealer. There’s a reason why people buy from the big automotive dealers: because there’s a system, a method to the madness. And I believe that if we can implement that industrywide, it would only increase sales and awareness. It’s a consistency in how consumers are treated, an attitude more than anything else — an attitude and professionalism in service.”