Letters: Texas Economy is Strong, No Free Tire Installs

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TEXAS RALLY GOING STRONG

I'm the owner of two dealerships, one in Detroit, where the economy is really taking a beating, and the second in McAllen, Texas, where, after a little bit of research, I realized the economy isn't as bad. It's close to the border of Mexico, where people come over and spend money freely. The town has great schools for my daughter and a "slightly behind the times" way of life that is appealing to me. So this past February I packed up, moved to Texas, and started to open my shop.

Now I'm an avid reader of Dealernews, and I keep reading about the economy, and how all these rallies are not going to happen this year. I was shocked when down here — in the armpit of Texas, in early February, March and April — I couldn't get away from everyone I ran into asking me if I was going to the South Padre Island BikeFest (and it's in October!). So I had to see what this was all about. I went to its website, and honestly, I wasn't really impressed. I called the organizer and met with the guy who created BikeFest (I believe 16 years ago). This guy was impressive. Without me saying anything, he went down a list of what BikeFest is lacking, and how he had all of these plans to make this a "breakout year."

Don't get me wrong. This isn't a small rally to begin with. The point I'm making here is ... It was exciting to hear this! With everything going on in the world, with all the sad stories, and hearing about rallies closing (which is a domino effect to dealers), these guys are going stronger than ever. They are even handing out "stimulus checks" worth $10 off registration.

I just thought I would share a good success story with you. I am hoping that Dealernews could do a article on it, mixing in a little bit of positivity for us dealers feeling the pinch, knowing that there are still people out here fighting and trying to maintain some "normalcy." — Shawn Mitchell , owner, Sinners & Saints, McCallen, Texas

FREE TIRE INSTALLS FOR WEB RETAILER? NO WAY!

It was interesting to listen to the views put forth by Todd Shafer in the June 2009 issue on the "Evil Empire" (Shafer wrote about a Motorcycle Superstore.com program in which dealers sign up to mount tires bought on the site. Shafer once suggested doing walk-in mountings for free to win new customers — ed.). Mounting a set of carry-in tires for free? Do you really think that a purchase made on price is going to segue into loyalty because you gave that purchaser something else? What else besides the service labor, thus given away, is there for the buyer to see now that the big boxes have taken merchandise from our shelves because that merchandise is no longer a profit center? We charge extra for carry-in tires because our profit center there is gone, and we have to pay to properly dispose of used tires. We go the extra mile and a half for our loyal customers, some of whom have been coming here for 30 years or longer, but a price shopper is only going to be encouraged to buy even more online by an idiot dealer willing to gamble on him becoming a loyal customer simply by giving something away. The erosion of profit centers needed to maintain viability of a brick-and-mortar store has accelerated due to the perception that cheap equals value. When was the last time you were pleased by the absolute cheapest thing you bought? — Bill Whisenant , owner, Motorcycle Performance, Madison, Wis.