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Oct. 18, 2004 – DISTRIBUTOR REPORT

October 18, 2004
Filed under Features

SMITH OPTICS PARTNERS WITH HUB360 ONLINE
Smith Optics, Ketchum, Idaho, has begun a strategic partnership with Hub360, developer of an automated online ordering system and information network. Smith company officials say the partnership is expected to boost the company’s distribution and marketing effectiveness. Under the program, Smith sales representatives and retail buyers will be able to view and order Smith products in one secure online location.
The customized showroom online at hub360.com will allow retail buyers and sales reps to browse product, check availability, and place and track orders. Smith’s retailers and reps can place orders 24/7.
Hub360 is an online ordering system and information network for the action sports industry, much like a virtual tradeshow, the company says. Hub360 hosts Supplier Showrooms online and provides a single, secure location where retail buyers and sales reps can view color catalogs, check product availability, place and track orders.
The company works with more than 22,000 retail, rep and supplier members.
Members also have access to order status and history, and credit information related to their supplier accounts. Authorized retail buyers are given user names and can access supplier catalogs and make inventory purchases online. Each supplier on the hub has the capability to maintain their customizable Supplier Showroom where new product releases, special event notifications, and any other information can be posted for viewing by reps and retailers.

VP RACING OPENS NEW FACILITY
Texas-based VP Racing Fuels, Inc. has expanded its operation in Terre Haute, Ind., moving to a new, company-owned distribution facility.
According to Jay Farnsworth, VP’s Midwest regional manager, the new $1.4 million distribution center will serve VP’s Midwest region, which consists of Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota. VP will own the new plant, unlike its previous facility in Terre Haute, which had been leased since 1983.
The capacity of the new plant will expand VP’s production capabilities and complementing its other facilities in San Antonio, Texas; Newark, Del.; Wildomar, Calif.; and Barnett, Ga., said Farnsworth. Located on 10 acres of land, the new plant includes eight 20,000-gallon storage tanks along with 6,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space.
VP’s Midwest regional staff includes Sales Representatives Jason Rueckert and Todd James, along with office personnel Ellen Urbanski and Nick Agresta; warehouse personnel Tom Henriott and Joe Lowery; and transportation managers Ron Rowe and Duane Kelso.
VP Racing — Midwest is located at 4100 E. Steelton Ave.; Terre Haute. 47805; 812/466-1175.

DIAMOND OPENS MOBILE SUPERSTORE
Diamond Powersports Inc. has opened its Sportbike Innovation in Motion mobile superstore. Offering an air-conditioned, custom showroom of over 800 sq. ft., the 49-foot trailer was designed to help maximize product awareness for the Diamond Powersports product line, company officials said.
The trailer features double glass doors, red carpet, a flat screen TV, and stainless slat walls featuring a majority of the company’s 400 parts and accessories. Also on display: an Anniversary Edition Hayabusa sporting all of Diamond’s 20 ’Busa accessories. Diamond moves product to dealers through eight major distributors.
“The interior sports a motorcycle store design, but its appearance around the country at AMA & NHRA races, National Round-ups, and other large motorcycle events is the real story here,” said Pierre Elliott, Diamond CEO.

MAXXIS BRAND RECOGNIZED
Maxxis, a unit of Taiwan’s Cheng Shin Rubber, has been ranked fifth on Interbrand’s 2004 list of Taiwan’s top ten global brands. Maxxis made the list for the second consecutive year. According to Interbrand, the tire specialist increased its brand value by 8% over the last year and is one of just three non-high tech companies in the top ten. Brand recognition is a significant factor in any company’s success, and the list is intended to acknowledge those companies that have made strides in branding.
The list was compiled through a survey of more than 1,000 companies. The companies were rated on factors contributing to overall brand value, such as marketing promotion, revenue and profit growth, and long-term strategy.
In other Maxxis news, the manufacturer’s new Web site, www.maxxis.com, was launched Sept. 20. Maxxis Marketing Manager Michael McGunagle said the re-design is more user-friendly and offers increased interactive elements.
Among the new features offered on the revamped maxxis.com: greatly enhanced services, including a “Find Your Tire” section which will guide users to the tire which best suits their needs; a search function which lets users find any topic or Maxxis product on the site; DOT tire registration; track locator, allowing track owners to attract potential riders; a Fan’s Gallery, letting Maxxis customers show off their vehicles and their high-quality tires; and an improved eStore, which allows customers to purchase Maxxis-themed merchandise.
McGunagle says planned enhancements to the site include dealer registration and content available in select languages other than English.

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