But a nasty surprise came in February when the owners shut down the operation and padlocked the dealership. The store was closed for the month, and Shenk and a partner immediately moved to purchase the small Punta Gorda business. They reopened it as Destination Powersports on March 15, 2010.
Nothing fancy. The dealership operates out of a small, unpretentious building located on a little-traveled side street, one block off of Punta Gorda’s main thoroughfare, State Highway 41. The building is partially hidden behind a large used vehicle sales operation. It’s difficult to find, and its modest 6,700 sq. ft. size doesn’t impress a first-time visitor.
In July 2010, the service department was not functioning well. It was located in a 1,200 sq. ft. concrete block building that had no air conditioning, making it an inefficient place for technicians to work. The poor work environment did not attract the best technicians, and the department ran poorly, based on most industry criteria.
The show floor and parts area had minimum space, and merchandise wasn’t displayed well. Often, units were stored outside for long periods of time, which led to damaged inventory.
The small store lacked even a low level of controls. This was a major challenge for Shenk when he took over as general manager. Shenk made many physical and operational changes to improve the productivity of the service department, and things are running much better today.
And, with some luck, there could be more major improvements on tap. Toward the end of 2011, Shenk was busy meeting with local bankers, working on a deal to purchase a major automobile facility two miles away. It’s located at a prime intersection on Highway 41 and has excellent showroom and service facilities. A move to a facility such as this could give Destination Powersports major marketing boost and could drive a large increase in revenues.
“A facility and location like this could increase annual revenues by 30 percent and add an estimated $200,000 to our bottom line annually, even if we didn’t change our operations in any other way,” Shenk says. “Something like this is a ‘must move’ for us to get to the next level in our growth.”
Operating philosophies. Shenk likes to keep things simple, so he’s trimmed down his business approach to a handful of operating philosophies. The include the “Good to Great” principle. Good performance isn’t good enough. In fact, Shenk has dropped several employees who were doing a good job. “Good isn’t good enough if we want to build a great operation,” Shenk says. “It’s a mistake to settle for good performance.”