Drag, Parts show a hit with dealers at home, on road
Madison and regional showcases fare well, as 2014 lineup revealed
On a steamy 90-degree August weekend in Madison, Wis., Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties once again pulled off a well-trafficked National Vendor Presentation.
The sunny weather allowed the distributor to host its Meet and Greet annual rooftop reception, this year with a Tailgate Extravaganza sports theme. It provided the perfect opportunity for an industry gathering — several dealers opted to ride in — making the Monona Terrace parking ramp look more like a bike show than a parking lot.
“Sunday was well attended, and after it was open for half an hour, the aisles were completely full. It was very good,” reported Drag Specialties national sales manager Jim Matchette. “All the vendors I talked to were impressed with the turnout, and the dealers got a lot of one-on-one time with the manufacturers.”
And the benefit of a good turnout and quality vendor time has been a boost in sales.
“I think sales since the show and leading up to it have been really good. We’re seeing a good fall,” Matchette said.
But the annual Madison show was not the only Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties dealer gathering for the year. The company also hosted showcases in March in Anaheim, Calif., and in April in King of Prussia, Pa. Those regional shows were part of a new philosophy in which Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties plans to bring two Regional Showcases to the dealers each year.
“We’ll always keep Madison, but we’re going to continue to move the other Regional Showcases around the U.S., and our plan really worked. This next year is going to be even more successful,” Matchette said. “We’ve really found good chemistry and the right model for what our company does best.”
The Anaheim and King of Prussia Regional Showcases both did well. In fact, the Northeast showcase surpassed expectations, leaving Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties to schedule a 2014 showcase in King of Prussia as well.
“We knew that was a good middle point geographically, the venue was excellent, and the casino was also a draw for the dealers. So we absolutely went into it thinking it would be successful,” Matchette said.
King of Prussia was originally chosen as a Regional Showcase location because it’s in the midst of the Northeast, which has a high number of powersports dealers in part because of the inflated population in the area. The 2014 King of Prussia Regional Showcase is set for March 22-23.
Also announced for the 2014 circuit is an Atlanta Regional Showcase, which is scheduled for Feb. 22-23 at AmericasMart. That event has been set to the backdrop of the AMA Supercross race at the Georgia Dome that same Saturday, which Matchette said will be incorporated into the showcase.
“That show is going to be just a monster,” he said.
The Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties showcases combined attract upwards of 600 vendor displays, along with dealers and reps, with all reps attending the Madison NVP. Each showcase includes the company’s house brand vendors, along with some of the distributor’s newest vendors, which bring their latest offerings. This year Biltwell and Lowbrow Customs were new additions to the showcases.
Each show gives Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties an opportunity to educate their dealers on the latest products available and incentivize them for being proactive in the sales process.
“It’s really important to get the dealers fired up to learn and see new products. That’s how we’re going to keep the industry moving,” Matchette said.
With the inaugural Regional Showcase year behind them, Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties are already looking forward to improving the events for 2014.
“I think our future showcases are going to be bigger and better and more successful than those [in 2013]; they were our training wheels,” Matchette said.
Though no showcases are scheduled farther west than Madison in 2014, in part because of the repetition of the King of Prussia Regional Showcase, Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties are already considering a variety of locations for 2015 and beyond. Places in the Northwest, Northeast, California and Texas are being explored, among others. The goal is to have visited nearly every region of the U.S. within the next several years.
“We’re trying to tie dealers in tighter with our company,” Matchette said, “and that’s really what our company is prided on, service more than anything. That’s just one of the services that we want to bring to them and do better every time.”