Posts Tagged ‘Dealernews Top 100’

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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Dealernews Announces the Top 100 Dealers for 2010 — Are you one?

January 6, 2010

Oh, how we love the Top 100 contest. It’s a chance to take a peek into a myriad dealerships across the country and boy is it exciting. Well, my excitement is about to go off the chartsnow that we’ve announced the Top 100 Dealers for 2010. I got to see quite a few and I’m highly impressed at how many stores took this bad economy by the cajones and charged forth with fantastic new ideas, marketing efforst, restructured business plans and just a great big dose of Great American Kick Ass. 

A few ideas that stuck out: promotions text messaged to customers; dealers using Google AdWords, a concentrated focus on improving CSI scores, more stores offering online credit applications, many dealers using e-mail marketing, using Facebook to interact with customers, and the big daddy, an in-store discount store where lower-priced (not discounted) items are offered. 

From Mary Slepicka’s announcement:

More than 35 states from coast to coast, plus two Canadian provinces, are represented in this year’s Top 100. States with the highest number of winning dealerships are Texas (8), Missouri (7) and Virginia (6). A full list of the 2010 Top 100 Dealers follows.

The Top 100 Dealers will be honored Feb. 12 during an invitation-only awards reception in Indianapolis, where the 2010 Dealer of the Year and Merit Award winners will be revealed. The Top 100 Dealers will be showcased in a three-day gallery exhibit during the 42nd Annual Dealernews International Powersports Dealer Expo, held Feb. 12-15 at the Indiana Convention Center and the Marriott and Westin Hotels in downtown Indianapolis.

This year’s winners also will be commemorated in the 2010 Top 100 Yearbook, to be published in March byDealernews. In addition, an online gallery will be available starting in March at http://www.dealernews.com.

So go take a look at the list and let us know your thoughts, especially if you’re one of the Top 100.