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Sept. 4, 2006 – They’re growing with Western

September 4, 2006
Filed under Features

BOISE, Idaho — Several of Western Power Sports’ vendors have grown as rapidly or, in some cases, more rapidly than the distributor. Here’s a look at some of those companies that were at WPS’ national sales meeting on Aug. 14-17:
Cometic Gasket
The Concord, Ohio-based gasket maker recently expanded its facility, doubling its size to approximately 50,000 square feet to support a larger manufacturing area and a separate warehouse, said Jason Moses, Cometic’s sales director.
Part of the company’s growth can be traced to increased business on the auto side, especially in the sport compact segment.
The company, which manufactures all of its product in-house, also produces gaskets for a range of powersports vehicles, from ATVs to PWC to snowmobiles to motorcycles.
“If it has an engine, we probably do a gasket for it,” Moses said, laughing.
Cometic does both one-off custom work and OE replacement parts. It also supplies some OEMs, including for some Harley-Davidson bikes and Arctic Cat’s UTV.
Besides the facility expansion, Moses said the company, started in 1989, has recently put more than $1 million into capitol improvements and an increase in personnel, going from 50 to about 60 employees.
Leo Vince
After relying on small distributors in the late ‘90s, the largest exhaust manufacturer in Europe opened up a U.S. division in Richmond, Calif., in January of 2004. It’s paid off, says Tim Calhoun, the U.S. manager for Leo Vince.
Today, the Italian company sells six times as many exhaust systems in the United States as before 2004, Calhoun said.
The company, which features a full range of exhaust systems from street motorcycles to ATVs to scooters, is set to get more into electronics in the near future.
Calhoun said the company will unveil a fuel injection ignition adjustment system for off-road bikes at next year’s Dealer Expo show. The device is currently being tested by racers.
Galfer Braking Systems
The U.S. affiliate of the Spanish company has a growing employee base at its Oxnard, Calif., office. Sandro Milesi, co-owner of the U.S. branch, said he will soon have 18 employees, double the number the company started with it when it opened in Oxnard three years ago.
Galfer makes rotors and break lines. The latter are manufactured at the Oxnard office. The break rotors, which will be in all ‘07 KTM dirt bikes, are manufactured in Spain. The rotors, called Wave rotors, are cut out of stainless steel and install directly to the stock mounts, using the stock bolts and nuts.
Smooth Industries
The Oceanside, Calif.-based company has used the popularity of supercross to grow its apparel company.
Smooth Industries started off selling licensed children’s products, pajamas and blankets, six years ago. Today, its catalog numbers 23 pages and includes everything from mouse pads to backpacks to kids wear to polo shirts.
President Mike Koger said the company’s sales grew 125 percent last year and expects the same in 2006. As a result, the company’s work force has tripled, to 12, in less than a year.
Koger said the company’s licensed riders include Jeremy McGrath, Chad Reed and Tris Pastrana and expects to sign more riders this year.
Smooth Industries, which has about 80 percent of its product manufactured in China with the rest in the United States, distributes soley through WPS. But it also sells directly to dealers and consumers.
Modquad
The Albany, Ore. company gets most of its sales through bolt-on ATV and dirt bike accessories, but it’s also looking to serve a growing sport — ATV drag racing.
“Drag racing for the quads is really big, whether it’s asphalt or the sand,” said Michael Bourne, Modquad’s owner. “We want to lead the way in that.”
Bourne said his company has invested in a number of new machines, including one that will produce aluminum drag axles for drag racing. Bourne said the company’s sales have tripled, meaning its current 18,000 square foot facility, which they moved into two years ago, is no longer big enough. The company is getting ready to build a 30,000 square foot facility.

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