Martin Motorsports – Pottstown, PA – Dec. 25, 2006
December 25, 2006
Filed under Power Profiles
1486 S Hanover St.
Pottstown, Pa., 19465
The Pennsylvania dealership that grew out of a tiny metal building is growing again. Martin Motorsports, a Yamaha, Suzuki, Triumph and Ducati dealership, will be moving into a 24,000-square-foot facility in March — 11 years after opening in a yellow pole barn, a small metal building. “When it rained, you couldn’t hear yourself on the phone,” owner Dennis Martin recalled of his first facility. Two years after purchasing Suzuki and Yamaha franchises and opening in the pole barn, the dealership relocated to a 12,000-square-foot facility. That’s where they’ve been ever since, growing from a staff of four to 21. The new facility will include motorcycles, scooters and ATVs, which the dealership currently carries, and add UTVs.
Martin is concerned about the long-term impact of Pennsylvania’s decision to repeal its state helmet law. “I am concerned that increased injuries or fatalities might add to the public’s negative perception of motorcyclists,” Martin said of the now two-year-old law. Ironically, in the law’s first year, helmet sales at Martin’s store went up 12 percent.
“The sport bike business overall has been very strong,” Martin said, noting Triumph’s 675 has been the hottest product with Ducati Monsters also being strong sellers. “Nationwide, I know there was a swing toward sport bikes and I think we were well positioned for that because of our enthusiasm and we had the right brands.”
Customer Buying Trends
Martin has noticed a significant weakening of the ATV market, especially in the sport segment. “We used to sell 40 to 50 Blasters a year,” he said. “Now we’re lucky to sell four or five.” Sales of other small sport quads also have been slow. “Everything that is not utility is really quiet,” he said. “That’s one of the things that’s driving us toward the side-by-sides,” Martin said, noting he’ll start carrying Rhinos in his new store.
Parts and service
For the past two years, Martin Motorsports has operated a special Saturday service program — the dealership does not schedule any appointments for Saturday, leaving the time entirely open to drop-in customers. The service program was something Martin had worked toward for several years but was unable to achieve because of a lack of technicians. That’s changed as the company’s reputation for treating its technicians in a professional manner has lead to a full service staff. “If you really want to be successful (with your service staff), you have to give them every tool, every comfort, every benefit you possibly can,” Martin said.
Promotional Home Runs
The dealership has expanded its demo days, allowing consumers to ride not just one type of bike, but several motorcycles in the same segment. So a recent sport touring demo day included different Yamaha and Triumph sport touring models. Consumers ride on a predetermined 15-mile course on one model and then can come back and try a different model or brand. The demo days are advertised mostly online through the dealership’s Web sites as well as an e-newsletter.
Words of advice
“If you expect your customers to be treated well,” Martin said, “you need to treat your employees and staff at least as well.”