TOP IS THE HIGHEST or loftiest point of anything. Top denotes leadership (top rank, top position). In tennis and baseball, a top stroke gives the ball its forward spin. In bridge, the top card is the best of a suit in a player's hand. Top means strength. Top means forward movement. Top means highest in degree, over and above the rest.
The Dealernews Top 100 competition is a method of honoring the dealerships that have excelled in all aspects of powersports retailing. The people who own, manage and work for these dealerships are powersports enthusiasts supporting the ride and the race. But they're also disciples of commerce. The level of enthusiasm they have for the sport can only be exceeded by their commitment to satisfying customers, keeping people employed — and making a buck.
Dealernews Top 100 Dealers may not be the most successful in terms of sales volume, but they do just fine, thank you. Some may not be the largest dealerships in North America, but they maximize the space they have. Some may not be affiliated with the most popular vehicle brand, but they're always looking for new products to deliver to their customers. Some might not have a huge staff, but their employees are focused on the needs of the customer 100 percent of the time. Some might not have the biggest advertising or event budgets, but they do some pretty interesting things with the budgets they have (ever heard of a Bug Run?). Some might not have a dyno, but they offer great techs, quick turns and superb customer care. Still some might not be the biggest PG&A superstores, but the products they carry energize their customers, and they're displayed in an easy-to-access manner.
To become a Top 100 dealer, you first have to enter. The submission process requires thought, advance discussion with your co-workers, and a bit of effort. Some entrants tell us that going through the Top 100 entry process is like doing their annual business review and forecast — it's a good exercise, whether they win or not.
We've seen the results. Ideas that were novel only five years ago are now common to scores of dealerships. And as much as we'd like to take credit for that, we figure most of you would have figured it out for yourselves. If the Top 100 competition helped light that bulb in your brain a little earlier, well, then, we're satisfied.
We believe in the mission of the Top 100 competition so much that we are no longer relegating coverage to a "special supplement" to Dealernews as in years past. The Top 100 dealers are important enough to warrant coverage in a dedicated issue of Dealernews itself. We'll return to our regular features and departments in April; and remember to visit www.dealernews.com daily for the latest news and dealer updates.
For now, enjoy this special edition of Dealernews, dedicated to the 2008 Top 100 dealers. And don't forget to enter the 2009 competition; entry materials will be available starting in May. — Mary Slepicka