Performance PowerSports: Watch and learn

Publish Date: 
May 23, 2012
By Joe Delmont

KURT MECHLING is a watcher. A watcher’s a guy who sees what’s happening outside of his store and outside of his business and then turns his observations into money. Watch. Listen. Plan. Act. That’s what Mechling does at Performance PowerSports, a multiline Top 100 Dealer in Seneca, S.C., and it’s why he’s making money.

Consider the following: It’s no surprise that the American middle class is eroding. Mechling discovered, however, that this change is creating a barbell-shaped retail market. On one end is the low-end consumer looking for the cheapest cost (think Dollar General); at the other end is the exclusive buyer (think Tiffany’s).

That’s why Mechling sells lots of scooters on the low end and lots of expensive PWCs at the high end. In between, he sells motorcycles, ATVs and SxS units, nearly 700 in all each year. Toss in the service, PG&A and an online parts businesses, and Performance PowerSports generates about $6.5 million in total revenues.

The location of Performance PowerSports has a lot to do with the shape of its business. Seneca is in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 35 miles to the Greenville-Spartenburg-Anderson metropolitan area. The market isn’t a big one; Seneca has only about 9,000 residents, and the county has only about 68,000. But the dealership is only a short distance from Clemson University, and a three-minute drive from two major recreational lakes.

Performance PowerSports is the state’s largest Yamaha Waverunner dealer, selling 132 units and generating almost $280,000 in gross profit in 2010. The dealership also sells Kawasaki JetSkis. Selling prices on his tricked-out boats average about $9,000, but can go up to $16,000.