Posts Tagged ‘Bill Shenk’

I Have Returned from Vacation

August 9, 2010

Joe Delmont

It’s always great to be on vacation, but it’s nice to be back, too. I’ve recently spent the better part of two weeks vacationing on a lake in northern Wisconsin with my wife, Bobbie, the three kids, Steve, Bryan, and Kate, and four grandkids. I golfed, read three novels, played with the grandkids, and spent too much time with a big, ol’ black Lab mutt named Jimmy, who visited every day. Jimmy is the only dog I every knew who retrieved rocks. That’s rocks, as in stones, big stones, that he would dig out of the bottom of the lake and then drop at your feet with a big, wet grin. Obviously, Jimmy doesn’t know the difference between a rock and a tennis ball.

Summer’s a busy time anyway, even without a vacation in the north woods. My wife and I have picked up two days of babysitting for the grandkids on Tuesday and Wednesday to save them some day care dollars. Four little bundles of energy, ranging from seven months to six years, each wanting lots of attention involving library visits (good), swimming lessons at the neighbor’s pool (not so good), and trips to the local kiddy park with juice and snacks (bad).

OK, I know I’ve said I want to spend time with the new generation, but it’s difficult to keep up. Bobbie and I don’t remember how we raised three kids of our own. Must have been some grandparents heavily involved in that schedule.

Story Backlog
At any rate, I’m back at the keyboard, and I’m looking at a stack of story notes. Tucker Rocky. Baja Motorsports. ITC’s investigation of intellectual property rights. CFMOTO’s suit against EPA. And a couple of other industry stories based upon research from Power Products Marketing, the Minneapolis research firm, plus my column for September Dealernews and the Dealer Lab report on Bill Shenk’s June performance—another profitable month.  I’m also heading to the Parts Unlimited show in Janesville and visiting the new Baja headquarters at the complex of its parent company TTI in Anderson, SC, at the end of the month.

And suddenly it’s September. Where has the year gone? JD

Contact me with story ideas and news tips at
jdelmont@dealernews.com or 612/845-8091.

A Saturday at Harley-Davidson of St. Augustine

January 18, 2010

Dealernews Top 100 Dealer Builds Traffic Several Ways

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fl. (Jan. 16, 2010)—Owner Clark Vitulli opens his small Harley-Davidson store here before 8 am this cool, drizzly Saturday morning, making last minute preparations for a couple of special events and the shooting of several TV commercials.

Sales of all makes of new and used motorcycles were down more than 40 percent in Florida last year, but Vitulli’s operation bettered that sad figure; his sales were off by less than 30 percent. The operation generated revenues of nearly $10 million last year. One reason for his success is that he worked hard on promoting the store and giving prospects many opportunities to visit his 16,000 sq. ft. facility. It has a 9,000 sq. ft showroom and a 7,000 sq. ft. service department with 10 service bays that is completely air conditioned with an AC duct in each bay. There are 20 full-time and part-time employees.

There’s a picnic area and a band shell for live music every weekend. There’s also a shuttle bus running to the huge outlet mall nearby.

Clark Vitulli

Today, the store is promoting a 9 am blood drive, followed by the monthly meeting of the store’s HOG group. After the meeting, the film crew will move in to shoot footage for a series of 30-second TV commercials featuring customer testimonials. The shoot will last a couple of hours. After that, traffic should slow down this afternoon.

While it seems a bit crazy here, it’s a typical Saturday for the store.

The dealership also operates a tiny retail satellite operation (Harley calls it an Alternate Retail Outlet – ARO) a few miles away in St. Augustine’s Old Town, the center of this delightful historic tourist attraction. St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States, older than Jamestown by 42 years, in fact. It was founded in 1565, 55 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Vitulli and his business partner, Allen Good, opened the small 1,500 sq. ft. store to sell apparel and accessories in December, 2009. It’s in the high rent district of splashy retail shops on St. George Street, the main tourist venue, but with the high pedestrian traffic, it generates sales of about $200/sq ft and helps drive riders to the main store located on the edge of town, just off I-95.

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Dealer Lab: Step Into the Laboratory

November 11, 2009

JoeDelmontThis article is from the October 2009 issue of Dealernews. Note change in fourth paragraph to correct information that ran in the original story.

How would you like to sit in on a management meeting while the team battles to turn around a faltering dealership — one that lost close to $1 million from its two stores last year? Would you find it more interesting if the managers were part of a new ownership team — one that has a proven track record of improving dealer performance?

I thought you might. I recently had the opportunity to listen in on this very scenario in an hour-long session — the first of many. It was educational and filled with surprises.

It’s all part of a new, multimedia sponsor-supported dealer educational program called Dealer Lab, brought to you jointly by Dealernews (and its numerous digital outlets) and PowerHouse Dealer Services. PHD is run by Bill Shenk, and is a recognized dealer training organization and provider of powersports dealer 20 groups. EBay is a major sponsor of the project.

Here’s the situation: Shenk, a former dealer, has been helping dealers improve their operations for 10 years as a consultant and as head of PHD. In July, he had an opportunity to put his ideas into practice when he took over management of Florida Motorsports, which has stores in Naples and Punta Gorda, Fla. (He also has an agreement in principle to buy an ownership interest in the store.) The dealership wasn’t in good shape — in fact, it really did lose nearly $1 million on operations in 2008.

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Do You Want To Sell Your Dealership?

February 9, 2009

Groups Plan To Purchase Up To 40 Dealerships in 2009

If you’re considering the sale of your dealership, your chances of success might be improving. It looks like there is new money coming into the market with an eye to rolling up dealerships into operating groups

Long-time industry pro, Bill Shenk, is the point man for three groups, and his PowerHouse Dealer Services company has been retained to find and evaluate acquisition opportunities for these buyers.

The three buyers plan to purchase collectively up to 30 metric motorcycle

Bill Shenk

Bill Shenk

dealers and 10 Harley-Davidson dealerships in 2009 with more acquisitions planned for 2010, Shenk told me. The three groups did over $100 million in retail powersports business in 2008, he said.

Shenk wouldn’t tell me the names of the three groups or the money behind the groups. He did tell me that all three groups “are very liquid,” already have “successful OEM/powersports relations and operations,” so they can purchase and close on deals quickly.

The buyers, Shenk said, are prepared to acquire the dealership businesses and their real estate, providing a nice opportunity for owners to cash out of the business completely.

It’s easy for interested dealers to participate, Shenk says. “There are no listing frees, marketing fees, selling fees or other requirements or constraints placed on potential sellers,” he told me, “other than the standard confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements at the time of discussions.”

While the buyers will look at individual dealerships and groups, Shenk said they are limiting their purchases to businesses that have at least one of these franchises: Harley-Davidson, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki. Dealerships can carry other franchises, but they most have one of these five major lines to be considered, Shenk emphasized. (more…)