First Coast Powersports
Our mission is to be a shining example of one of the top powersports dealers in the nation, an honored cornerstone of business in the historic city of St. Augustine, and an enjoyable place for customers and their families from the entire southeast United States to enjoy their powersports, motorsports and watersports lifestyles, experiencing the great culture and history of the Ancient City and surrounding areas through our interaction with the lifestyle activities and products that our customers enjoy.
Showroom Design and Layout
We have utilized several design strategies to give the customer an inviting and exciting experience. One of first initiatives was to provide the customer with the brand experience each OEM has to offer. Our belief is that the customer will enjoy shopping when they are not confronted with "brand confusion."
Each OEM product, parts display, apparel and POP is laid out in a fashion to make the customer feel like each brand is as desirable as the others within the product segments. Our showrooms are full of action at all times. Five (5) giant big screen TVs are always on, and customers can see rolling action and info on specific brands per area, running powersports action footage, music videos, the game of the week or a movie mixed with store commercials. The music is always on, with the addition of live DJs during special events to keep our guests entertained and enthusiastic about shopping. While we don’t mix the brands, we have created themed showroom areas.
The main showroom features the on-road portion of the main lines. We are especially proud of the results from this, as we are Honda’s second-largest volume on-road motorcycle dealer in the U.S. for 2011/2012. Each brand has a full run of models and colors, accentuated with a host of custom-colored bikes straight from our in-house custom paint and body shop featuring the artwork of one of the nation’s top customizers. Sharing the space is our scooters, and our customer-friendly layout has worked well landing us the third spot in scooter sales nationally in 2011/2012.
Just around the corner from the main showroom is the ATV feature. With eight lines of ATVs, our off-road-themed showroom features almost every model, color and major option, along with the hottest accessories for off-road enjoyment.
Just to the rear is our motocross/sport/trail/off-road showroom. This 1,500 sq. ft. ft space is 100 percent for the dirtbike and sport-quad lovers! It is wall to wall with gear and accessories customers can view, and an array of every model of all of the metric off-road bikes, sport ATVs and a full line of youth models -- and of course, it is staffed with off-road specialists.
Step outside and you are in the Side-by-Side corral. On display are side-by-sides from every major brand in the U.S. It looks like a car dealership for UTVs! With over 100 of the behemoths in stock in every option and color, customers are able to find exactly what they want in stock.
Finally, our PWC and Marine center feature all four PWC lines and 17 major boat lines. As northeast Florida’s exclusive Honda/Suzuki outboard dealer, we also have become No. 2 in the southeast U.S. in Marine sales in just 18 months of adding marine. This adds to our No. 1 status in the U.S. for Honda Watercraft sales for several years running. This incredible display is featured under-roof of a historic former Ford dealership.
Finally, the newest showroom is Ancient City Choppers, est. 1565. This showroom is under construction and will feature a chopper theme, as if the Spaniards rode off their ships in 1565 on mean, stretched machines made of lead and powered by gunpowder, facing the historic side if A1A on the backside of our 19,000 sq. ft. service center. Customers and tourists can enjoy the First City’s heritage and go home with a BAD T-shirt and maybe a Cool Chopper. The Chopper store, as well as the main location side, are both on historic route trolley stops, giving our customers both access to the rest of the city as well as the opportunity for new customers visiting the city to stop in.
The main showroom was given the industrial look to allow us to utilize the maximum amount of space and visibility. There are neat touches like exposed industrial a/c units and rough painted girders with customer contrasting painted themed walls -- some made from historic coquina block and brick contrast the industrial fixtures. The staff-handcrafted floor makes the bikes look like they are sitting on water. Offices feature hundreds of autographed motorcycle- and musical-themed memorabilia from sponsored events, and the community room built in the center of the main showroom hosts a multitude of events, training and club meetings. It is currently being fitted with a full kitchen to serve and cater.
One final touch to the expansive parts department is the combined service and parts counter in the main showroom. While each showroom maintains it own write-up center and combined parts counter, the main showroom features a huge six-person counter that was removed from the Historic St. Augustine Hilton and refinished to match the store to give the customers a beautiful and comfortable interaction with our service and parts team.
St. Augustine is a different and difficult real estate market. In our quest to consolidate our three powersports and one marine dealership spread out all over the city, we had difficulty finding a facility that would fit all of our products, be in an acceptable location and could be approved by all eight powersports OEMs, five outboard OEMs and 17 boat lines. After five years, we acquired the former Ford dealership that was slated to be torn down to build the new St. Augustine Convention Center and Hotel/Condo complex. The economy provided a rare window of opportunity.
While the Ford store worked perfectly for the marine operation, the acquisition of the electronics store adjacent on the corner provided the showroom base for powersports, and the former service department and body shop made the perfect combined service center. The new combined service center provided us some very rare opportunities. The new center would give us 12 powersports service bays big enough to service side-by-sides (as they were prior auto/truck bays), a dedicated PWC bay with drainage, a main service drive, three major marine bays large enough to service a 40-foot boat with the 20-foot high bay doors closed, and enough service storage/warehouse space to store 100+ service units comfortably inside with room to spare.
With the additional space, we are building out a full internal parts department to provide instant assistance to out technicians without having to trek to the retail counter to wait on the counter team to provide parts. Techs have a dedicated parts team that not only supervise shipping and receiving, but caters to the techs so they are more efficient. Our high-volume sales means high-volume service, and after acquiring three stores nearby with a very small volume of sales and limited units in operation, we have pushed incredibly hard to put thousands of new units in operation during the economic downturn to provide us a service customer base that now keeps 14 combined service members employed full time.
With our efficiency, we are able to schedule the more difficult work and turn it out quickly. The crowning addition to our service center is a full-service body shop. The former Ford dealer had built a down draft booth in the center of the facility. With a complete prep-line set up, the paint booth large enough to paint commercial trucks has been scaled down to give better air flow and allow for the quality expected of custom motorcycle paint work. Our shop is churning out custom colors and designs for customers and vehicle inventory, and serves most major insurance companies. This recent addition has quickly become a signature product of our dealership.
Training and Employee Motivation Practices
Our first priority in managing sales and service performance is goal-setting. With this as the spine of the process, we can not only have a direction to follow, but we also have the tools necessary to manage the combined operation. With a total of 30 OEMs and an incredible diversity of product including motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, PWCs, scooters, fishing boats, wakeboard, sport boats and electric cars, we have to be on top of our game. With over $12 million of major unit inventory, managing inventory in relation to sales is paramount. Each of our managers on the powersports side is responsible for two OEMs. They manage the OEM dealer interaction, inventory and processes. They are incentivized in their pay plans to become "experts" on their brands of responsibility. This process keeps us on top of all the latest info and keeps our massive inventory in line.
Our sales staff has a very incentive-based plan that is designed to achieve our goals. While we pay a percentage of gross profit to illicit higher grosses, they are also provided a salary the following month that is based on the prior month’s sales volume. This keeps them focused on volume, and helps maintain their salary level which can account for as much as 30 percent of their income.
Another item incentivized for all sales-oriented positions is on CSI. Maintaining CSI based on each OEM standard is rewarded with a bonus, while a score below the standards reduces the bonus and salary allowance. The final piece of the sales incentive plan is based on what we feel is the cornerstone of a solid sales process. Staff is required to contact a minimum number of current and past customers daily to update them on events, sales and invite them to visit the store. This provides us solid customer traffic. Customers are happy to hear from us and the fact we are interested in their lifestyle. Much like sales, service and parts are incentivized for to achieve our goals.
The counter team is incentivized on sales gross and inventory turns, while technicians can increase their hourly pay rate by completing OEM training programs and reaching levels of achievement desired. Everyone on our team in incentivized to achieve their individual and team goals. This serves to keep customers happy, manage inventory, and achieve the business financial objectives. All of our team members participate in team training. All team members are expected to be exposed to every product line we carry. Monthly product training includes on-road, off-road and on-water experience with someone that is a product expert. We fund all training for our staff, both on- and off-site.
Each department has weekly/monthly training meetings hosted by management and the owner, who is an experienced sales and management trainer. We expect EXCEPTIONAL performance; anything less will not achieve our goals. As a collaborative team, our efforts provide these exceptional results: We are the No. 2 in Honda National On-Road Motorcycle sales, No. 3 in National Scooter sales, a Top 10 Honda National Dual sport sales, No. 1 in PWC sales and No. 1 in powersports sales in Florida. We have achieved Honda Council of Excellence as No. 1 every year since opening. Kawasaki Ichiban and Yamaha HO CSI are among our many awards and achievements.
Commitment to Customer Service
Our customer service philosophy is very simple: we are here to support our customers' lifestyle and to provide our customers a pleasant and motivating experience that keeps them focused on the enjoyment of their products and their lifestyle.
Our mantra that the customers' needs always come first hinges every decision we make. The customer is always the first priority, for without our customers we would not exist. The best example of how we achieve this and why we have grown immensely during a failing economy is our commitment to make the experience in servicing their products as convenient as possible, with free service pick-up and delivery, along with multiple choice bill payment.
Most of our customers not only travel or send their products 45 minutes or more to our store, but most pass at least two other dealerships to reach ours. We have even extended our free service pickup and delivery as far a three and four hours away with only a fuel surcharge outside of our six-county base.
Every process is designed to provide the best experience possible, including our non-confrontational sales process. We help our customers negotiate, giving them power to make an informed decision and purchase the right product for their needs. Our customers are happy and pay a fair price. We recognize that customer happiness and outstanding customer service is a direct relationship to profitability.
Involvement in the Community
We have designed our business and operational plan around our community involvement. Lifestyle events that include a relationship to our customers' lifestyles puts us front and center to customers in an environment where they are the most comfortable. Our full time marketing and event coordinator is tasked with managing a weekly, monthly and annual event schedule chock full of events both product- and lifestyle-oriented along with a host of major charitable events.
One of these is our annual Rock-N-Ride, to benefit the Daniel Foundation for abused kids. Daniel is Florida’s largest adoption agency. The Rock-N-Ride hosts northeast Florida’s largest ride, from downtown on the river to the beach and back, concluding with a rock concert and fundraiser that raises $100,000+ for the foundation.
Music and motorcycles go hand in hand, and concerts with big names attract enthusiasts. We sponsor as many as possible, bringing big names to small venues and joint marketing to pull enthusiast audiences. We host in intimate settings for 1,500 to 2,000 people with artists like ZZ Top, Kid Rock, Shine Down and George Thorogood. We also do the Country Concert Series featuring the top national acts, as well as huge festivals with 40,000+ attendees, with groups like Evanesance, and Linkin Park. These are at Generation X and Y, while the Beaches Festival and the nationally famous Jacksonville Jazz Festival attract the Boomers.
We also have enhanced the International Car and Truck Show by adding our full line of powersports products, attracting more people to our display than any OEM auto display in the show and invading the International Boat show with not just our marine products but with 100+ powersports products.
In conjunction with our five-year corporate sponsorship of the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars, we support the Kick Off to a Cure for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, donating new motorcycles, scooters, generators and more in raffle to raise money for the CFF. In our support against abuse and bullying, we sponsor events both motorcycle and marine for the Monique Burr Foundation. Our five-year sponsorship of the NFL team helped build a massive customer contact list that, along with the other events we have sponsored, allows us to communicate online via email with over 35,000 active lifestyle enthusiasts. Many registered to win one of the five customer Jaguars-themed motorcycles given away.
We host monthly barbecues with the Christian Motorcycle Association at the store, as well as a weekly bike nights during spring and summer at the area’s hottest family entertainment center, Latitude 30. With Daytona just down the highway, our involvement in Bike Week and Biketoberfest puts in front of a huge audience. We manage both the Yamaha OEM factory apparel and accessory display and our own with Western Power Sports at the track.
During Bike Week, we build our national customer base, which has helped launch EverythingMotorsports.com, our online store, and our eBay store, everythingmotosports-com. Our staff, which has great success with the Honda Ruckus, created a scooter club. The Ruckus Mafia has become a major lifestyle movement -- scooters show up for flash meetings organized by our sales management team, with food and fun, spawning a line of apparel and products for the fashion scooter.
Not forgetting our commitment to the sports side, we have sponsored and supported a number of racers from motocross, supercross, X-Games and most recently, put a new Yamaha R6 on the track in AMA races with a veteran racer. '
Our crowning event is KORDD, or Kids Off-Road Demo Day. This event is designed to give kids ages 3 to 15 the chance to experience off-road products under supervision. It is a hit! Parents come from all over north and central Florida, as well as south Georgia. Scheduled weeks before the Christmas holidays, we inspire families to get out and ride together. Parents often boast of how they had no idea their kids loved it so much. About 200 to 500 show up annually, and starting 2014, the annual event will become a two or three event series each year.
Our off-road support of two ATV/UTV parks with uo to 1,100 ridable acres each keeps us in front of a major demographic of our business.
Combined with multiple marine events, our schedule is absolutely full of fun and exciting action and in-your-face involvement with our customers, all while we are able to support charitable causes.