Archive for the ‘Distributor’ Category

Checking in with Tucker Rocky’s Steve Johnson

August 15, 2010

I didn’t have a chance to participate in Tucker Rocky’s national sales meeting in Texas last month, so I tracked down TR”s chief Steve Johnson to get his reaction to the five-day event and to see what he had going at the big Fort Worth-based national distributor.

Steve Johnson

The show was different this year, by design. More aimed at training and business improvement than entertainment and relationship-building. “This show was a lot more about product and selling product,” said Johnson. “It was less about fun and more about dealer training and how to run a good dealership.”

In Johnson’s view, the participating vendors and dealers “were more than positive, they were engaged” in what was going on. “A lot of people are still excited to be in this industry. But there’s a realization that there’s a new norm; it may come back a bit, but it’s going to be at a slower pace. You can’t expect 10%-15% compound growth. You have to hunker down and run your business as best you can. People were fully engaged; more so than ever before.”

Dennis Johnson, editor-in-chief of Dealernews magazine visited the show and did a nice job of reporting on the event in the August issue of the magazine. I’m not going to duplicate his efforts here, but Steve covered some interesting points in our conversation, many focusing on dealer training and customer service.

Big Push On Customer Service

As we chatted, Steve told me a story about customer service that came from his previous experience in the foodservice business. To paraphrase his story: There once was a large bakery that produced custom products for a high-end local grocery store. The big thing was fresh birthday cakes, made the same day and featuring custom greetings. It was an important item for the retailer and produced nice margins for both the bakery and the retailer. The cakes were always delivered on time, the names were spelled correctly, and everyone was happy. But one day, there was a mistake; a cake didn’t get produced for a birthday party that day. The customer went crazy, of course; what was she going to do for the party that afternoon?

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Tucker Rocky Changes Sales/Marketing Approach

January 23, 2010

Sales & Marketing Team Reorganized

A recent brief announcement out of Tucker Rocky Distributing about changes in the marketing department piqued my interest. The note said that long-time marketing and advertising guy Stephan Ulbrich was no longer with the big national Fort Worth-based distributor. Several other reassignments were also mentioned. The moves followed the

Steve Johnson

departure of another long-time TR marketing executive, Tim Pritchard, vice president of sales and marketing, who left the company in October after eight years with the distributor.

What was up with the changes, I wondered? So I called Steve Johnson, TR’s president and COO. It turns out that the personnel changes reflect a significant shift in the way TR is working with its customers, both on the supplier side and on the dealer side.

The departed ex-employees aren’t talking, of course, but here’s the story, as Steve discussed it with me.

“It was clear to me that we needed new leadership in the sales and marketing area,” Johnson told me. ” Tim had been here many years and we had a philosophical difference on how to run the company, so I made a change.”

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Dealer Expo From the Inside Out

February 25, 2009

Because we can’t seem to get enough Robert Pandya around this place here is a video of him cruising Dealer Expo 2009, jawing with various industry movers and shakers about current economic issues. From Pandya:

What we found was an optimistic industry that is adjusting for some changing times. Looks like dealers and companies paying close attention to the marketplace are adapting to the conditions and positioning themselves for success in the future.

And heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeee’ssssssssssss Robert:



Helmet House Launches YouTube Channel

February 24, 2009

Riding gear distributor Helmet House has created a YouTube channel offering videos aimed specifically at motorcyclists.

Helmet House distributes product from Cortech, Tour Master, Shoei, HJC, TCX and Utopia. The company plans to use its YouTube channel to post videos of racers, events, rides and interviews with industry personalities, plus helpful tips on hooking up with the right equipment to match specific riding needs.

Some of the first videos include behind-the-scenes interviews with road-racing champions Ben Bostrom and Jake Zemke, the story of Jason McVicar – who set a land-speed record at Bonneville and then later in the day set the record for the fastest survived crash – and a feature on Cortech and Tour Master jackets in action.

“We are excited about bringing fresh insights to riding enthusiasts through YouTube,” says Richard Kimes, director of marketing, Helmet House. “Viewers will be able to enjoy entertaining video clips and also learn about the many elements that go into making superior riding gear. In short, this new Helmet House YouTube channel will be a great way to get closer to the sport of motorcycling.”

Click here to visit the Helmet House YouTube channel.

Wanted: Copy Editor

February 6, 2009

Has anyone else noticed the photo used on Parts Unlimited’s 2009 Street Catalog features a rider in a Speed & Strength jacket?

I visited Hitching Post, my local dealership, this morning to kick some tires and talk shop. The dealership received its 2009 PU Street catalog yesterday. The PG&A guys thought I’d be interested in the cover art. I was.

Speed & Strength is a new apparel brand from Tucker Rocky Distributing.

Funding Crisis Follows Cerberus

January 2, 2009

Chrysler LLC received its $4 billion low-interest federal government loan Friday to help the auto company continue funding its operations and pay its suppliers for parts.

Those in the powersports industry will recall Chrysler’s owner, Cerberus Capital Management LP, went through a similar problem – paying off suppliers for parts – when it owned Global Motorsports Group, Inc., the parent company of PG&A distributors Motorcycle Stuff and Custom Chrome.

Global Motorsports Group, Inc. was acquired by Cerberus Capital Management in 2005.

Following the takeover, Cerberus executives placed tight controls on Global’s operations, putting decision-making authority into the hands of its on-site representatives. According to some observers, those non-powersports managers subsequently made some mistakes in dealing with vendors and dealers because they didn’t understand the industry.

Three years later, on Jan. 31, 2008, Global filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition for reorganization just a few days after the company was sold to Dae-Li USA Inc. for $16 million plus assumption of a long list of liabilities to more than 350 unsecured suppliers.

Cerberus’ website states, “We succeed when our companies succeed, to the benefit of our portfolio companies’ employees, customers, suppliers and the communities in which they operate.

“Cerberus believes that strong corporate governance is the cornerstone of our business.”

Motorcycle Stuff closed its doors in 2008, after 37 of business. How long, do you think, Chrysler will survive?