Scooterville – Minneapolis, MN – Feb. 14, 2005
March 16, 2005
Filed under Power Profiles
650 25th Ave SE
Minneapolis, Minn. 55414
Founded in April 2002. Retails and repairs scooters from Kymco, Genuine Scooter Company, Bajaj and TN’G. Three employees — two tech, one sales. Closed Sundays and Mondays; open Tue-Fri, 10:00am to 7:00pm; Saturday, 10:00am to 4:00pm.
Hedstrom says larger displacement scooters are responsible for a growing number of sales at Scooterville. “In some cases it’s the people with 50cc machines who are moving up to something like a 250cc, and in other cases it’s people moving down from their 1500cc bike and thinking that a scooter may make some sense.” Hedstrom says Kymco’s People 250 has been his best-selling 250, and says Genuine Scooter Company’s 150cc two-stroke Stella model also are selling well.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
The scooter customer comes in all shapes, ages and sizes, from senior citizens seeking a vehicle to load into an RV to students in search of an affordable way to commute. “The buyer of the large displacement scooter is not the buyer of the retro-style Stella, and the buyer of the Stella is not the buyer of the sportier type of 50cc models,” Hedstrom said. The customer age range spikes a lot older than I thought it would. I was anticipating a lot more 18 to 28 year olds, and it has turned out to be a lot more of the people 42 to 62 than I thought there would be.”
Accessories are sought-after, too. “Some manner of accessory goes out on almost every bike we sell. It’s a pretty wide selection, from cargo boxes to taller windscreens, performance pipes, mirrors, etc.,” Hedstrom said. “I think people want to get as much utility out of their vehicle as possible.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Hedstrom believes parts and service is of utmost importance to his operation. “If you can’t take care of your customers on that end of things, you’re not going to get return business or referrals,” he said. “There are a lot of first-time people in this market, and they may need a bit more care than your average motorcyclist who spends his time flipping through magazines and catalogs.”
Hedstrom says unregulated product from questionable suppliers is the biggest concern to him. “You get competition from eBay and guys selling out of warehouses and garages, and they’re flying under the radar of the DMV inspectors and everyone else,” Hedstrom says. “They don’t have warranties, they don’t have replacement parts, and there’s no service or support.
“People savvy enough to shop around, seeing what appears to be the same model at half the price, should know better, but many don’t. I see two major problems with that: A) I’m losing sales, and B) People buy something that’s not reliable and they get turned off to the whole industry.”
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Customer referrals are probably our number one marketing tool. Scooterville keeps active in the local scooter club, The Regulars; takes part in a yearly get-together, called the Scooter Du; and holds Saturday BBQs at the dealership. “Doing things like that is big in the sense that it establishes us as the leader in the Twin Cities scooter community,” Hedstrom said. “At this stage of the game it’s all about getting our name out there.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
Hestrom has one piece of advice to share with fellow scooter dealers: “Don’t buy junk. The main thing is to emphasize quality. If you don’t support the cheap, poorly-built bikes, hopefully they’ll go away. In the long run that’s going to benefit everybody.”