Last year, First Coast supported YourJax Music, a competition show that featured local bands in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine areas. The shows were filmed inside the powersports building at First Coast, linking motorcycles with the local music scene.
That takes care of the rider and local community, but what about the thousands of tourists going past every day? Enter Ancient City Choppers, the next big project for First Coast. The portion of the building that fronts A1A, with a trolley stop about 30 feet away, will be the showroom for a mythical chopper shop.
“It’s based on if Ponce de Leon came over here on his own bike instead of a horse,” Allen said. “They could have had a steam engine, they could have had big wagon wheels.” The chopper in question will be on display inside the store, with a miniature Spanish-style cannon serving as the basis of the frame.
“Its attraction is that Ancient City style, so we want to incorporate that as much as we can,” Allen said of the city. “Incorporating that into our business model and incorporating that into our image is a big deal.”
Ancient City Choppers will have plenty of T-shirts for sale, featuring a rendering of Ponce de Leon on his 16th-century chopper. And perhaps some of those souvenir hunters will buy more than a shirt. First Coast already gets tourists who stop in out of curiosity, and one vacationing couple spontaneously bought a boat.
For all of the big events and the big plans, Allen is quick to note that First Coast Powersports is still about customer service. One of their most successful programs is free pickup and dropoff service for customers. Two trucks cover six counties, bringing in units for service. In addition, the customer can pay by phone, online or at the truck, so they never have to come in, even if their bike does.
About 30 percent of the service work at First Coast is from customers who take advantage of the free program. Allen noted that most customers want to have their bike taken in for them, then ride it out themselves once it’s back up to par.
The employees at First Coast are supposed to be ambassadors, Allen said. Each powersports manager is responsible for two OEMs so they can focus on being an expert about those brands.
As far as Allen is concerned, providing customer service and supporting the lifestyle are one and the same. His outlook is simple:
“Maintaining customer service is the most important thing. We have done a complete 180 personnel-wise to get us to customer service, which is our main focus. We want people to ride. It’s all about people enjoying our products.”