THERE ARE FOUR main roads that bring you into Grand Rapids, Mich., and Brad Schroeder owns them all.
In a manner of speaking. MI 131 comes in from the north and south and I-196 runs in from the east and west. The first thing you see when entering town on any of these roads is a giant 20 ft. x 40 ft. flashing digital sign promoting Village Motorsports.
“We dominate those corners,” says Schroeder, the fast talking general manager of the dealership and its sister store in Holland, 35 miles west.
But that’s only the tip of the digital iceberg. There are 30 large HDTV screens in the two stores, 16 in the flagship Grand Rapids facility, where they are placed in every department, including service. There are five screens on the showroom floor alone, where they carry programming that promotes new and used units, financing and the riding lifestyle.
Programming includes a mix of streaming editorial from a variety of sources, creating a flow of news and riding tips mixed with product information and sales alerts to capture viewer interest. This is especially important on those screens in customer waiting areas, such as the lounge in the service department, where the screens also contain information on available services.
The two stores carry 16 brands, including Polaris and Victory, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Ski-Doo, KTM, KYMCO, Arctic Cat, Sea-Doo, Spyder, Can-Am and Yamaha.
The Grand Rapids store sold 949 units last year, including 439 ATVs, SxS units and dirtbikes, and generated total revenues of more than $13 million. This year, the store is on track to hit nearly $15 million in revenues. Through June the store sold 349 off-road units (ATVs, SxS and dirt bikes) and expects to sell close to 480 this year. Nearly 50 percent of the store’s revenue this year will come from dirt machines.
Village Motorsports, a Dealernews Top 100 dealer for three years, employs 33 persons, including 11 in its ecommerce operation, www. partspitstop.com. This site, which sells discount OEM parts, specializes in ATV, motorcycle, dirtbike, snowmobile, PWC, SxS and power equipment parts and accessories. The e-commerce business generates about 30 percent of the store’s total revenue.
An important trend, says Schroeder, is that much of the dealership’s snowmobile business has been replaced in recent years by SxS sales. “If you have less than eight inches of snow here, people ride SxS,” he says.
The hottest product at Village Motorsports is the Polaris RZR. Nearby Silver Lake State Park is a popular riding spot on the shores of Lake Michigan; it includes a 450-acre off-road riding area and nearly 2,000 acres of sand dunes.
Schroeder chases the dirt market by sponsoring the SJO Village Motorsports Michigan State Fair Super Cross Series, a program of 20 races at county fairs that attract 4,000 to 5,000 for each event. (continued)