Seat King Mike Corbin Set To Retire

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EDITOR’S NOTE: (First of two parts) Mike Corbin has been making motorcycle seats for 42 years, but now he’s ready to call it quits. Corbin, founder of Corbin-Pacific, one of the leading developers and manufacturers of motorcycle seats and accessories, has put the company up for sale. The details are presented here. The second part of this report includes information from a lengthy conversation I had with Corbin about how he built the company, how he sees changes in the marketing of motorcycle products, and what he plans to do in retirement.

After designing and building some of the world’s most popular motorcycle seats for more than four decades, Mike Corbin has had enough. He’s ready to retire, and he wants to sell his company, Corbin-Pacific, Inc., including its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Hollister, Calif., and its retailing facility in Daytona Beach, Fla.

He’s not going to go away entirely, though. He’s available to work with the new owner for up to two years to ensure a successful transition.

He’s listed the company with an LA sales and acquisitions firm, Business Team. Jeff Beland, executive vice president, is the contact, if you’re interested. He can be reached at (310) 539-8300 or jbeland@business-team.com.

I spoke with Mike and Jeff this week and here’s a summary of the selling information:

  • Corbin Pacific, Inc. It’s listed at $11.5 million. The company develops, manufactures and markets a wide line of custom motorcycle seats and accessories. Mike Corbin founded the company and has been its resident design genius for 42 years. He holds 82 patents and has developed everything from custom leather motorcycle seats and backrests to apparel and highly stylized fiberglass fairings, bags and other accessories.
  • The company’s products are designed specifically for individual models of motorcycles and scooters. Corbin also produces products for the unique three-wheel BRP Spyder roadster.
  • Corbin maintains an inventory of more than 1,500 fiberglass seat molds for every major brand and model in street and off-road categories.
  • In an unusual move for this industry, Corbin has eliminated all sales to distributors and now sells directly to dealers and consumers, largely through the Corbin website.
  • The company generated revenues of $14.6 million in 2007 and $14.7 million last year, almost all of it through the company’s Internet website. The company lost money the last two years, but has returned to profitability this year, according to management.
  • Hollister, Calif., Property. It’s listed at $7.2 million. This modern 82,000 sq. ft. facility houses the company’s headquarters and main manufacturing operation; it’s where all Corbin seats and accessories are produced. Built in 1997, the building includes a restaurant, customization service area, customized wiring and an OSHA Certified work area. There’s also a showroom that presents the history of Corbin and the many products he’s invented and produced.
  • Ormond, Fla., Property. It’s listed at $3.2 million. The Ormond showroom is an 11,000 sq ft building designed to handle sales, marketing and product installation. The classy building serves as a showcase of Corbin products for East Coast riders. The showroom is located on Main Street in Daytona Beach, which hosts two motorcycle rallies annually and draws more than 200,000 motorcyclists.
That’s it for the sales information. Next time, I’ll write about my conversation with Mike that will touch on his future plans, his unusual marketing approach, and a bit of the history of the company and the man.