OZARK, Mo. – For most people the word expansion means physical growth, but the folks at Cruisin’ 66 are finding out that less can be more. They now have less space, but they're evidently getting more traffic, more marques and perhaps more hours of operation.
The staff of this Top 100 Dealership is settling in to a new, smaller store that’s more visible and accessible from the highway than the larger former site in downtown Springfield.
“We noticed in the last three or four years that fewer and fewer people were coming into the heart of Springfield because of the traffic,” said dealer principal Nan Woodsome, who owns the store with husband Tim. “Before we decided exactly where we were going to look to move to, I did an analysis of my customer base. Over 70 percent were 10 miles south of Springfield.”
The next step to conduct traffic studies and scout a new location that would raise their profile and draw some of the rider traffic that passes through on the way to the entertainment mecca of Branson, 30 miles south, and other tourist areas. They found one with several advantages, but it was only about half the size of the existing store.
“We found this building and went from 9,400 sq. ft. to 5,500 sq. ft.,” she said.
The Woodsomes bought the five-year-old building. They signed a contract in January and closed the deal April 9. Owning a relatively new building, rather than renting the previous 50-year-old site (shown in the photo at right), provides fewer infrastructure headaches, she noted.
Loyal customers and vendors pitched in to help with the move, which was finished over one weekend. “We closed on a Saturday and re-opened at the new store on Tuesday,” Woodsome said. “The biggest obstacle to overcome was transferring the phones.”
The new store has a large grassy area that will provide a cooler summer event and display space than the old site’s asphalt parking lot. The supportive business environment in their new town is also a plus.
“Where we were before, we could not advertise our vehicles outside. For us to hold events it was a big deal -- we had to get all kinds of permits and things,” Woodsome said. At the new store they can roll vehicles outside to show them off -- even more important now that Cruisin' 66 has added Ural and Motus franchises. (continued)