ONE DAY IN 2004, Steve Seltzer and a buddy were drinking beer and talking, as guys do, about their futures, and where they were headed.
Seltzer was a little bit free with some extra cash following the sale of his family’s successful telecommunications business in Pennsylvania.
It was a nice situation, but a little bit unsettling for a 49-year-old guy who had worked in the family business all of his adult life. Where to go from here?
Both guys were long-time riders. So they thought, why not buy a motorcycle dealership in the Altoona area?
The two approached Polaris about starting a Victory Motorcycle dealership, but Polaris turned them down as there was another dealer in the region. “Victory would have been okay if we just wanted to run the store as a hobby,” Seltzer says. “But there wasn’t enough volume to build a business, and Polaris wouldn’t set up a second ATV dealer in our county.”
Next, the two approached the owner of a Honda dealership in town and negotiated the purchase of that business. Before the closing, Seltzer’s partner opted out of the deal, so Seltzer was into it by himself.
“He was a numbers guy and he’s been a huge help to me,” says Seltzer, who describes himself as a sales and marketing person. “But we soon realized that the store couldn’t support two families.”
RUNNING A HONDA-ONLY OPERATION
Selzter bought the small 7,000 sq. ft. store in April 2005. He struggled with it as a Honda PowerHouse dealership before finally dropping the Honda exclusive approach in January 2012 when he acquired the Kawasaki and KYMCO franchises.
The first years included putting up a new building and upgrading the accounting system with a new Lightspeed product. In total, it took about two years just to get the accounting system running satisfactorily.
In August 2006 Seltzer moved the business to a 14,300 sq. ft. facility located on 15.4 acres just off Interstate 99. Seltzer Powersports, as it's now known, operates an off-site 4,000 sq. ft. storage facility. The land also is used for dirtbike and ATV demos. (Continued)