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Lemon and Barretts – Mineral Wells, WV – Dec. 5, 2005

December 5, 2005
Filed under Power Profiles

CONTACT
Lemon and Barretts
RR1, Box 193X
Mineral Wells, WV 26150
(304) 489-1377
www.lemonandbarretts.com
OWNERS
Paul Lemon and Rod Barrett
BUSINESS PROFILE
Lemon and Barrett started their dealership as a repair shop in rural West Virginia in 1995. Prior to that, both worked for another dealership in the service department. After that dealership changed hands, Lemon and Barrett stayed on with the new owner for a couple years, then decided to resign and start their own shop. The dealership took on Suzuki, which is the primary line, but it also carries Eton ATVs. ATVs outsell motorcycles at Lemon and Barretts. The facility is 10,000 square feet, with 3,000 of that showroom, 3,000 of service and the rest is parts and storage. Fifteen full time employees and four part time. Lemons and Barretts is on track to do more than $4 million this year, a far cry from the $60,000 in sales during its first year. Suzuki sales have been strong. “We did sell more Suzukis in this area than any other brand in this area in the first six months of this year, which is unusual for Suzuki to be the top seller,” says Rod Barrett. “We sold more Suzukis than Honda sold Hondas in this area. That’s the first time that’s ever happened for any dealership that I’ve ever worked for.”
GREATEST CONCERN
“Probably government interference would be my biggest thing,” says Barrett. “They can do a lot of damage to you real fast. And they are on the bandwagon again. Although there are more deaths on boats and bicycles, they’re still on the bandwagon again to go against the safety thing. You hear all the time about the hearings going on.”
WHAT’S HOT?
“Eiger’s our probably our biggest selling four-wheeler,” says Barrett. “I also do a lot of the new King Quad and lots of LT-Zs too, but Eigers are probably our biggest in numbers. And then the C50 is probably our biggest selling street bike. Though sportbikes have increased greatly this year, all the sizes.” In parts, Barrett says that nothing really stands out. “We do a lot of ATV accessories, a lot of plows, winches, bumpers, boxes and trunks,” says Barrett, “and a lot of helmets. We probably do more helmets here than we have anywhere else, for whatever reason. We promote safety and we sell a lot of kids ATVs with Eton and here in West Virginia if you are under 18 you have to have a helmet.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“We’ve just been kind of on and off, the past couple months especially,” says Barrett. “There will be a hot week and a cold week. It’s probably similar to what it was last year; we’re a little bit ahead of sales last year. Nothing really stands out. One month it’s hot and one month it’s slow.
ANTI-POWERSPORTS ISSUES
“Our local newspaper bashes all the time,” says Barrett. “That’s the only thing they will print. They’ll print ‘Three ATV accidents this weekend.’ And one of them was a four-wheel drive Bronco, you know, a Ford vehicle. But we get a lot of negative press.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
“Parts and service is probably 30-40% of the business,” says Barrett. “It’s probably bigger for us than it is for some others. We do used ATV parts and have done so since 1996. We’re on the hotlines salvage network. We still do that. We have six guys that work in the service department, plus a service manager. We have four people in the parts department. We send guys to service school every winter to keep guys up to date, [usually] the service manager and 1-3 of the techs. We just won a service award from Suzuki for being in the top 5% of their service satisfaction. We just got a Lightspeed computer system, which hopefully will help us in all categories to track. Their dealer management system hopefully will help take care of customers faster and with less hassle.”
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
“We went to a local high school and did a two-day safety course,” says Barrett. “The principal called and asked if we’d be interested in doing that and we did for them. We try to do our part to try and help the safety and improve the image a little bit. We always try to do something out of the ordinary. We have a promotion coming up this fall with a radio station where we’re going to give away a four-wheeler. You have to be a finalist for that radio station and they’ll pick 15 finalists and the finalists have to sit on a block of ice until it melts [enough to get the key out.] We do a lot of radio and TV. We do a lot of advertising, but we are out of the main town a little bit more rural. I’m a half-mile off the main road. We also do an open house in November, it’s customer appreciation month, we have something going on the whole month.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“We’re in a small town so you have to take care of customers,” says Barrett. “We try not to forget how we got started and try to take care of our customers and everything else pretty much works out. Paul and I both were mechanics, so we’re both service oriented and we think that’s probably one of the strong points is we try to take care of that area, customer service.”
—Blake Stranz
If you would like to share your story with the readers of Powersports Business, please contact Blake Stranz at bstranz@comcast.net.

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