Company’s global reach began in a basement
August 16, 2013
Filed under Features
Our Focus section in this edition offers insight into the snowmobile industry (but surely you’ll find other industry-related stories to keep you engaged even if you don’t sell snowmobiles). You’ll find all sorts of highly informative data points from our partners and stories from our writers that will keep you apprised of everything powersports-related, snowmobile or otherwise.
The inventiveness of our industry continues to inspire. In two different stories, you’ll learn how dealerships that sell snowmobiles and PWC both turned to demo rides to sell product. It’s that simple folks. We hear again and again that it works, and these are just two more examples of ways to grow your business.
Speaking of businesses that are growing, FXR Racing owner Milt Reimer might be one of the few in the industry who knows what it’s like to do $2 million in sales from his basement. And he knows what it’s like to add to that sales number with an additional shop built on his property. Now, Reimer is living in the lap of luxury with a new facility in Winnipeg. And the 2013-14 season figures to be one that will drive even more sales growth for the manufacturer of snowmobile and motocross gear and apparel.
Reimer won’t soon forget the early years.
“After we built the shop, we had about 18 or 19 people there in and around my house every day,” Reimer laughed. “We started with three, and that’s manageable enough from your house. Then we just ballooned. You can’t sleep in in the morning because there’s always people there. You can’t take a vacation in the summer, do things around the yard. You learn to live with it. It’s like your own little Amish community there. It doesn’t go away.”
In 2011, FXR finally moved into more enticing environment, about a 15-minute drive from its origins. The company purchased commercial property that included a building, and in the past year has added a second building for corporate offices.
“It’s absolutely awesome to have it off my yard finally,” said Reimer, who grew up working part-time at Honda-Polaris dealership.
FXR’s lineup now includes 25 employees. A 40,000 square-foot warehouse that has an additional dozen staffers sits about 10 minutes from the new office space. The company also has warehouses in Minnesota and Sweden. A unique arrangement has allowed FXR to partner with FXR Korea in Seoul. That office facilitates production of FXR jackets and pants, all of which are sewn in Vietnam.
“We’re able to build crazy pieces with huge amounts of embroidery at reasonable costs,” Reimer told Powersports Business. “We can put technical pieces and functions into our products for a price that other companies have a hard time competing with.”
FXR Korea produces FXR products only, and ships globally to all its vendors.
“They have the digitized pattern-making equipment, the lazer-cutting equipment for pocket welds. They do all the patterning and all ordering of supplies, then allocate and coordinate the shipment to the sewing factory. We’ll have three or four factories sewing for seven months of the summer to meet our production schedule.”
A team of nearly a dozen quality control managers in Vietnam ensure that the manufacturing process meets FXR’s requirements, and an FXR manager from Canada travels to Vietnam four times a year.
“It’s a flood of materials, and it’s incredibly complicated what we’re doing,” Reimer said. “We cut and sew more product than probably [three major snowmobile apparel manufacturers] put together. Measuring sew and embroidery hours, we would be. It’s a little mind-bending at times trying to coordinate it all.”
In fact, FXR is considering purchasing its own factory due to the volume.
“We’re constantly fighting to manage production,” he said. “The North Korean conflict forced a lot of the managers of the sewing operations to go to Vietnam, even though Korea owns the sewing infrastructure. Companies like Hyundai, Kia and Samsung all originally were sewing factories. It’s a starter for the economy to get up and running.”
FXR is doing its part to bolster your dealership’s local economy by adding Realtree camo to its product for 2013. With flotation assistance devices built into many of its garments and Boa Technology in five of its boots options, FXR’s worldwide growth is certainly built on inventiveness.
Dave McMahon is Editor in Chief of Powersports Business. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 763/383-4411.