IT'S HARD TO COVER a continent from one side of it. When I arrived at Dealernews 12 years ago, roughly 43 percent of the powersports “industry” — the OEM and aftermarket manufacturing sector — was based in Southern California. I imagine it hasn’t changed too much, although the Golden State has seen its share of businesses leave for more tax-friendly areas in recent years. And while the West Coast is home to a thousand franchised dealerships and nonfranchised service and PG&A shops (including giant dealerships like Chaparral and Bert’s, as well as e-tailer MotorcycleSuperstore.com), thousands more are east of the Rockies, with the largest concentrations of dealerships between the Missouri River and the Atlantic Ocean.
So even though one can argue that to be in the powersports industry you have to be in a 24-7-365 riding area, like Southern California, most of you above the 37th parallel are doing just fine. Upper Midwest dealers tell me that their prime selling season starts in February-March.
Dealernews as a business is based in the Advanstar Powersports Group headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., alongside our sister properties Dealer Expo, the American V-Twin Dealer Show, and the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows, But what you may not know is that Dealernews editors and writers are remote, based across several time zones. We are not in a centralized office but, rather, near the markets we cover.
In Southern California are Dennis Johnson, associate editor Cynthia Furey, art director Beth Demont, senior editor Bruce Steever, and our veteran columnists Eric Anderson and Mike Vaughan. Senior editor Holly Wagner and longtime columnist Dave Koshollek are in Arizona. Senior editor Arlo Redwine is based near Kansas City, and contributing editor Joe Delmont works from homes in Minnesota or Florida, depending on the season. Rick Fairless, for whom no title is needed, pens his Tie-Dyed Tales from Dallas; and our Dealership University professors, Rod Stuckey and Tory Hornsby, are in Georgia. Our trusted photographers are scattered throughout the country.
As for me, I’m just outside Chicago in St. Charles, Ill., and our national sales manager, Angela Gibbs, is about two hours’ west, near what we call the Quad Cities. (And if you ever want to meet us every other Tuesday for breakfast at the diner in Dixon, let us know and we’ll get a bigger table.)
At this point I’d like to welcome a long-time friend, Maurice “Mo” Murray, who has joined Advanstar as brand director for the Powersports Group. Many of you know Mo from S&S Cycles, Custom Chrome and, most recently, Yamaha. Mo will be leading an expansion of our show and media properties, with new features planned for the consumer tour and new educational initiatives (and more) scheduled for Indy 2013. Mo is based in our Santa Monica headquarters alongside EVP Danny Phillips, VP of operations Tracy Harris, and our sales director, Jim Moore.
With this issue, Dennis Johnson transitions to a Senior Editor role with Dealernews. Dennis has capably directed the magazine as its Editor-in Chief-for three years, but he long desired to return to his roots of reporting and writing. There are thousands of stories that need to be told in the powersports market, and Dennis looks forward to making a dent in the list. And frankly, I am very pleased that we’ll be seeing more Dennis Johnson bylines again. (Note: Dennis also manages the Dealernews Facebook Fan page, as well as our Twitter feed.)
One could say that managing a nationwide editorial team is kind of like herding cats — very intelligent, prolific cats. But if you witnessed the organized chaos of our INDY 2012 Show Daily office, you actually saw a tight team of reporters, editors and photographers who really enjoy working with each other — and that’s true, whether it’s in person or by email. I’m proud to say that I’m part of the strongest, most strategically placed, and most enjoyable business editorial staff in powersports. We hope you’ll take advantage of our “proximity” and invite us to visit. Chances are, if you’ve got a story, we’re within riding distance — and it’ll be a great commute.
This story recently appeared in the Dealernews June 2012 issue.