Erico's John Beldock: On being a Top 100 Dealer of the Year

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Denver-based Erico Motorsports is the kind of Euro-only dealership that leaves Europhiles, Triumph geeks, Guzzi heads and assorted Ducatisti drooling onto their Dainese leathers. Housed inside its brick walls are the two-wheel machines from Aprilia, Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, Triumph and Vespa — the store has even picked up the Bimota franchise. What’s not to drool over? The Erico operation is the brainchild of husband-and-wife team, John and Tai Beldock. The store’s roots are based in John’s long love for road racing that had him buying and selling used bikes and parts to fuel his racing habit.

The Beldocks and the dealership are also the 2008 Grand Prize Dealer of the Year, a goal they were shooting for from the first Top 100 entry they ever sent in years ago. The store also landed Honorable Mention awards in 2006 and 2007. And these weren’t just any Top 100 entries; they were big, heaving monuments to the hard work and dedication the couple put into their store. Not content to just include a handful of photos and the entry form, or even settle with including a couple of additional sales fliers and marketing materials, the Erico Top 100 entries were stuff of legend here at Dealernews: massive folders cataloging every event, fund-raising effort, customer ride and dealership party plus clippings from various publications around Denver covering all of these happenings. They had it going on, and for their winning entry, one Top 100 judge had this to say: “This entry is the only one that gave me goose bumps. Erico truly taps into everybody’s inner motorcycling geek.” With this in mind, and as we wind up to celebrate the Top 100’s 20th anniversary, we approached Beldock with a few questions about Erico’s outstanding efforts.

Check out the Beldocks’ store at www.ericomotorsports.com.

DEALERNEWS: When did you first enter the Top 100 contest?
JOHN BELDOCK: 2002.

DN: Erico’s Top 100 entries were legendary here at Dealernews. Why did you put forth such a humongous effort, and how long did it take to compile each entry?
JB: We put enormous effort into everything we do. My team and dealership are worthy of recognition. As far as marketing and PR are concerned, my wife, Tai, is the powerhouse, and spent at least a month compiling the winning entry. My motto has always been “You go where you look.” As soon as we entertain light-duty efforts, we get light-duty results.

We also maintain a detailed history of Erico on our website with annual updates, so this made putting together a submission such as our winning Top 100 entry somewhat simplified.

DN: What kind of impact did placing in the Top 100 and winning Dealer of the Year have on your staff and business?
JB: The title definitely gave us confidence in knowing that we are heading in the right direction and are helping to reshape the way the industry views itself.

DN: How did you use your Top 100 placement and Dealer of the Year awards in your store marketing?
JB: We blasted it out in every communication [using the Top 100 logo] and put it all over our website. The [grand prize] trophy sits front-center on our “i-desk” counter to this day. And the Top 100 plaques are all over.

But, to be honest, it’s more of an industry thing. The customers don’t really know what it is. It’s more like all my other dealer buddies know that it’s a really cool thing to win. Everybody who owns a dealership in this country knows about it. … It adds legitimacy and it looks really good.

DN: What are some of the tangible benefits from winning Dealer of the Year or placing in the Top 100?
JB: Ego boost — honestly, any award is just that. It’s validation of hard work. I am especially thrilled that the “little guy” has been able to make a marked impact on the industry, and I thank Dealernews for using Erico Motorsports as the conduit in recognizing the collective “us.”

I think it is really cool for the whole industry that a big, monster Harley-Davidson store didn’t beat us. And it kind of shows that you can be a great store and not be huge.

DN: What advice would you give other dealers
thinking about entering the Top 100 for the first time, or those who’ve taken an hiatus from entering?

JB: This is 2011. Make sure you don’t take your eyes off the ball, but if you don’t enter, blow your own shofar because nobody else will. It’s a cool program because it’s industry, it’s internal and we can stand up in front of other dealers and say here’s how we did it.

This story originally appeared in the Dealernews February 2011 issue.