THE SHOP

Performance & Hotrod Business May '14

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May 2014 n Performance & Hotrod Business n 45 Another advertising strategy that Fresh says has been wildly successful revolves around the off-road trail rides the shop sched- ules each month, where prospective and existing customers are encouraged to get out and enjoy their new vehicles. "Everyone that buys a Jeep from one our stores is invited to go on a kind of 'beginner/how-to' four-wheel run," Fresh says. In addition to showing new customers how to get the most out of their new four-wheel drive, Fresh says the experience is also great for business. "It helps us quite a bit with getting customers hooked on the sport and using their rigs, instead of just driving them around on the street." New off-roaders often aren't always sure where to start when it comes to upgrades. "They can see what works and what doesn't work, and why they would want it," he explains. "Everything from your simple stuff, like relocating a steering stabilizer, to after we're done having an air system that will fill all four tires at the same time. It just makes the experience easier for them." And what better way to convince an on-the-fence customer that the gear they're considering is a good purchase than by watching it in action? With rides arranged for both novice and advanced drivers, and with a host of seriously upgraded rigs in attendance, there's some- thing to spark any Jeep owner's interest. "They obviously also know they can come see us and get it done at our store," Fresh says. Rightsizing It turns out you can have too much of a good thing, and what the company had too much of in the early days was space. "When we first started this, we had an entire dealership dedi- cated to OC Motorsports for the first year," Fresh recalls. That meant it had more than 10,000 square feet of covered space at its disposal, plus room to park 150 vehicles on the lot. Orange Coast Auto Group owned the property and had the build- ing available, so it was a good place to begin. But it was a lot of overhead for an installation shop. "When you've got that much overhead and you have that much space, it's almost a curse in some ways," he says. "You can bring in so many vehicles, but you don't have enough techs to get them all done." Rightsizing—something most businesses face—was in order. The shop's parent group decided to move a car dealership back into the building, and OC Motorsports now shares the space with it. The change has had a positive effect. "Now we fit the size. We have 7,000 square feet to work on vehi- cles and it's a good match for us," Fresh says of the arrangement. Staffing was streamlined and resources are now focused on what the OC Motorsports team does best. When the shop first opened, Fresh says, "We had to have a sales staff, because at that time we were actually selling cars as well. Now we have the right people to run what's in our wheelhouse. We're more into building cars than selling them." HRR0112ballsvintage.indd 1 12/13/11 2:08 PM HRR0112ballsvintage Page # QL#______202 PHBMAY.indd 45 4/4/14 9:52 AM

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