Del Amo Motorsports
Maintaining Steady Growth Through a Destination Retail Strategy
Del Amo Motorsports’ original location is housed in a 45,000-sq.-ft. facility in Redondo Beach, California.
Del Amo Motorsports’ humble beginnings can be traced back to 1985 in a 6,000-sq.-ft. facility in Redondo Beach, California, offering a single product line. The company now features multiple product offerings across a wide spectrum of machines in four locations throughout Southern California, with the original one now encompassing 45,000 sq. ft.
SEMA News spoke with Claudia Perez, operations manager for Del Amo Motorsports, to get her take on how the business has maintained its success and grown over the past three-and-a-half decades.
SEMA News: Who is your target market and demographic?
Claudia Perez: For the most part, we cater to motorcycle and sport-bike riders between the ages of 18 and 35. Our locations are family-oriented. We have a wide range of product offerings, including dirt bikes, side-by-sides, watercraft and enduro touring. Our demographic seems to have changed a bit as we expanded south to Santa Ana and Chula Vista, California.
SN: How has the business grown over the years?
Claudia Perez started with the company 10 years ago as a general manager of the Long Beach, California, location and is now the operations manager.
CP: Since the company’s inception in 1985, we’ve added three locations (Santa Ana, Long Beach and Chula Vista) to the original one in Redondo Beach. We started out offering only the Suzuki brand of motorcycles. We have since expanded to carry Kawasaki, Yamaha, KTM, Can-Am, Spyder, Ducati, Polaris, Honda, Vanderhall, Triumph and Sea-Doo personal watercraft. Three of our locations are destination stores where customers bring in their bikes, hang out and talk to other customers.
We’ve gone from having 60 employees to about 250 at all four locations. By 2002, we had outgrown our original location, so we moved to a 25,000-sq.-ft. location, also in Redondo Beach. We expanded to 35,000 sq. ft. when we added KTM to our product line shortly after the move in 2002. In 2010, we expanded our parts and accessories department to 10,000 sq. ft.,
bringing the total size of our facility to 45,000 sq. ft.
According to Perez, it’s crucial to train her staff to understand the industry’s ever-changing compliance issues so they can best serve customers.
SN: What’s been the toughest challenge you’ve faced?
CP: Compliance regulations in California—from employee and advertising practices to emissions, the California Air Resources Board, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and vehicle accessibility—are the toughest obstacles we’ve had to face. The laws are some of the toughest in the country, and it’s hard to keep up because they change so fast. It’s green sticker, now it’s red sticker; you can ride, now you can’t ride; it’s a two-stroke, and now it’s a four-stroke. For street riders, exhaust is legal, now it’s not legal. One day it’s one thing, and the next day it’s another.
It’s tough to manage compliance, including Prop 65 regarding lead and chemicals, when you also have to manage a business. We have to get the whole team working together, ensure that we have a good process for implementing new regulations, and train everyone on the subject so they understand the importance of complying and the ramifications if we don’t.
In the beginning, the company’s only product line was Suzuki motorcycles. Product offerings now include Kawasaki, Yamaha, KTM, Can-Am, Spyder, Ducati, Polaris, Honda, Vanderhall, Triumph and Sea-Doo personal watercraft.
SN: What has been one of your most rewarding successes, and what risks has the company taken along the way?
CP: Growing the team to management levels has been successful for us. Some employees started in accounts payable, DMV or cashiering, and now they’re in management positions. That’s rewarding for us. I started as a general manager of our Long Beach location 10 years ago.
Opening new locations is always a risk we’ve taken, because you never know how that market is going to work and if the employees are going to stay.
SN: What draws customers to your store, and how do you ensure repeat business?
CP: Our stores are beautiful. Long Beach is a little smaller, but we try to make the other three stores destination shops with merchandise. We work with our team to engage the customers. Most of our employees ride and are powersports enthusiasts. They’re involved in bike nights, track days and desert racing, which helps customers feel that they are working with somebody who shares their passion.
SN: What factors do you attribute your success to?
CP: Our team makes a huge difference and has been instrumental in maintaining our success. You can find motorcycle builders anywhere, but it’s the people who make it all happen because of their willingness to help the customer and do whatever it takes to make the customers’ dreams come true. Understand that we’re not just selling a product; we’re selling a lifestyle.
The retailer has hosted several events, including parking-lot sales featuring shows by Fitz Army and stunt riders Tony Carbajal and Jason Britton.
SN: What differentiates you from competitors?
CP: Our stores are well maintained, and we share inventory with all four locations, so if a customer needs something, we probably have it in one of our locations.
SN: How do you market the company?
CP: We market the company online through social media and email blasts. We host a lot of in-store events. Every week, there’s something going on in at least one of our stores that we promote through social media. They include parking-lot sales, where the guys from Fitz Army come out and do a show. We’ve had stunt riders Tony Carbajal and Jason Britton come out. We bring in powersports athletes and offer food, raffles and bike giveaways to show appreciation to our customers.
SN: How do you train staff to best serve the company?
Del Amo Motorsports
Owners: Pablo Veglia and Scott King.
CP: Training our staff to best serve the business comes from correct onboarding. Upon hire, we provide employees with the tools, resources and clear expectations of their jobs. If we have someone who is capable and knowledgeable, we do the rest by teaching them the key items we would like them to focus on to be successful.
We have a full-service department at each of our locations with certified technicians for all the brands we carry. We do product installations for our side-by-side customers, including cages, seats, backrests, stereo systems, doors, seatbelts, etc.
SN: What are your plans for future growth?
CP: We would like to continue adding more locations. It’s hard to say where the business is headed, though, because with motorcycles and powersports, they’re not a necessity; they’re a luxury. The economy, climate, weather and job availability have a large impact on our industry, but for now we focus on what we can control and
SN: What advice would you offer a retailer starting out in the market?
CP: Focus on people. I visit a lot of retailers to see how they’re doing. Customer service is not what it used to be. Mobile technology is great for a lot of things, but people have lost their touch for engaging in conversation with others.