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Sept. 6, 2010 – LeMans Dealer Show Digest

September 6, 2010
Filed under Features

Ex-SixSixOne owner oversees new brand

MADISON, Wis. — The former owner of a multibrand aftermarket company is now working as an advisor to a start-up manufacturer.

Eddie Cole, a former part owner in Valencia Sport Group, is aiding his two sons and other shareholders of Matrix Concepts, a new California-based aftermarket company that supplies garage/shop necessities for the motorcycle rider.

Cole told Powersports Business he and the six other shareholders of Valencia Sports Group sold the company to a private equity group in late 2007. The group consisted of a number of brands, including SixSixOne, a protective gear company, and Sunline.

“That was the original plan: to grow it and sell it,” said Cole, who also started Answer and Pro Taper brands in the 1970s before eventually selling them to Tucker Rocky Distribution. With Valencia Sport Group, “we had a 10-year horizon and we went exactly 10 years,” Cole said. “We had three other offers prior (to the sale), but they weren’t quite right.”

After the sale, Cole stayed on as president of the company until this summer. Meanwhile, Cole’s sons, Cameron and Chadd, used a business plan they created from a community college class to build Matrix, a provider of work stands, mats, ramps and other garage/shop items.

“I don’t think they got a great grade on it,” Cole says in jest at his sons’ business plan.

Clearly, however, the product has received plenty of interest. The Cole brothers, plus three other shareholders, have created a product lineup that is being exclusively distributed by Parts Unlimited in the United States and 15 other distributors around the world, Eddie Cole says.

Matrix Concepts also has opened a 3,000 square foot office in Valencia, Calif.

“We’re off to a great start,” Eddie Cole said, noting the company is intending to launch 10 new products next year and is already working with a dozen off-road motorcycle race teams. Cole uses the term “we” loosely, noting with a laugh, “They gave me a job, without a paycheck.”

New industry player has trucking roots

MADISON, Wis. — A longtime player in the heavy-duty trucking cargo control category has entered the powersports arena.

Kinedyne, a company that has manufacturing facilities in four countries, has started a brand called Steadymate that will be exclusively distributed in the United States through Parts Unlimited.

Steadymate will provide tow straps for a variety of powersports units, trailer securement point kits and other cargo control accessories.

The company already has established a Web site, www.steadymate.com, that gives securement tips, some of which also will be on point-of-purchase displays as well as on packaging.

Dorothy Creighton, product manager of Steadymate, told Powersports Business the company’s packaging will provide a key safety measurement that is often disclosed in the heavy-duty trucking industry but less often in recreational markets: the working load limit of each cargo control accessory. Creighton said other manufacturers sometimes use a “breaking strength” measurement, which can be confusing to consumers who don’t realize the breaking strength number characterizes the weight at which a cargo control accessory will break down or fail, not what it can handle.

Kinedyne, which has been in the heavy duty trucking industry for 40 years, has manufacturing facilities in the United States, Canada, Mexico and China. Creighton said the company does all of its own engineering, product testing and manufacturing.

Cometic adds to its Ohio facility

MADISON, Wis. — Cometic, a high-performance gasket manufacturer for V-twin and powersports, just recently began expanding its Ohio facility.

Jason Moses, Cometic’s sales director, said the Concord, Ohio-based company is adding 28,000 square feet to its existing 50,000-square-foot facility. The expansion will provide additional room for warehousing, manufacturing and office space. The expansion just started and is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The company, located northeast of Cleveland, provides high-performance gaskets for ATVs, drag race, auto, Harley-Davidson, off-road and on-road motorcycles and snowmobiles.

Roland Sands sees 2010 sales growth

MADISON, Wis. — An aftermarket brand that began selling product just a few short years ago is seeing considerable growth.

Roland Sands Design (RSD), a V-twin parts and accessory provider, has seen its sales rise more than 40 percent over the year-ago period, said Summer Sands Hoover, general manager of the La Palma, Calif.-based company.

The company has considerable ties to another La Palma aftermarket brand, Performance Machine. In fact, Performance Machine does all the manufacturing of RSD products, including its best-selling item, its air cleaners. Roland Sands, the racer turned parts and accessory designer, also designs product for Performance Machine. “What Roland does is he builds a motorcycle,” Summer Sands Hoover said, “and the entire time he’s building that motorcycle, he’s developing products in his head and using the bike as a prototype.”

The brand and its edgy products have grown enough now that its staff is now eight employees strong. Still, Summer Sands Hoover sees considerable growth for the V-twin brand that first began selling product in 2007.

“The brand is definitely in its infancy stage,” she said. PSB

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