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SNOWMOBILE Sled demo rides important to Appolson's Performance Center BY DAVID WELLS CONTRIBUTING WRITER "We don't want to just sell you a snowmobile," Jim Appolson said. "We want to gain you as a long-term customer." This veteran western New York dealer has been totally immersed in the sport of snow- mobiling for decades, and that experience has shaped a business philosophy that extends far beyond special sales and short-term promotions. Beginning as an oval sprint racer back in the days of leaf spring sleds, Appolson competed professionally on Polaris snowmobiles before opening Appolson's Performance Center as a Polaris dealership in 1992. Located in Ham- burg, an outer suburb to the south of Buffalo, his dealership is in Erie County, No. 1 in New York for registered snowmobiles, and not far from Lake Erie. In addition to Polaris snowmobiles, ATVs and UTVs, Appolson's also sells Yamaha Wave- Runners, KYMCO scooters, Triton and Kara- van trailers, and aftermarket apparel lines. "We spend the time and get to know the customer," Appolson explained. "That lets us get them on the right product for them." His philosophy is works well when there is adequate snowfall. "Last year we had record snowmobile sales," Appolson said. "We had the right prod- uct at the right time with the best programs in the industry." But so far this season hasn't been anywhere near as strong. "We didn't get early sales or snowfall," he lamented. "Last year we cleared out the pipeline." A lot of his customers had old sleds, and they traded up to new iron, so the dealership completely sold out of model year 2016 snow- mobiles. But 2016 also brought a poor winter to western New York. "Nobody rode their sleds last year," he continued, explaining why this season was so soft in the early going. And a nearly snowless January 2017 added to the problem. Buffalo has a reputation for snow, but Appolson points out that the real Lake Erie snowbelt is well to the south in Chautauqua County. Nevertheless, Appolson doesn't give up and Dealer's snow event builds customer relationships 30 • March 13, 2017 • Powersports Business www.PowersportsBusiness.com See Appolson's, Page 32 Jim Appolson made his mark as an oval sprint racer for Polaris. These days, his dealership in Erie County sells Polaris snowmobiles in New York's No. 1 county for snowmobile registrations.