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ARS Powersports sparks success with family atmosphere

ARS Powersports sparks success with family atmosphere

ARS Powersports  sparks success with  family atmosphere

Maggie Stevens, 2023 Powersports Business Women With Spark honoree, recently celebrated five years at ARS Powersports. Stevens is the parts manager and her husband, Ben Stevens, is the service manager of the Okeechobee, Florida, location. 

“My husband and I owned an independent shop on the other side of Florida that we ran for about five years,” Stevens says. After selling the business, the couple was recruited to move across the state.”

She has worked with her husband for a decade and shares that the biggest benefit is having someone who understands the highs and lows of working within the dealership day-to-day. 

“When it’s busy season and you have someone in the industry with you, let alone the trenches, they understand the late nights or early mornings,” she explains. “They understand the good and the bad, versus someone who’s not in the industry who can appreciate it, but not fully understand it.” 

Stevens had little knowledge about powersports at the start of her career. She asked many questions to learn how to be successful and began documenting the knowledge she gained.

“There’s this strategy I have that’s called the Rebel’s Playbook,” she says. “It’s like a football playbook of successful strategies for myself and for my department and it’s the way we store knowledge. It’s very detailed.” She and her department use the Google document to increase efficiency and enable continuous process improvements.

The “playbook” includes a section accessible only to Stevens that includes big picture goals and how they will be executed. The Hub is the second section of the “playbook” that is available to all members of the parts department team. 

“They use it all day,” she says. “It’s just a Google document and a Trello document. The Hub is probably 40 percent to 50 percent of either feedback or suggestions from my team, so all our brain is in that document. 

We added two new things today; both documents are living and breathing. Every image, 
PDF, anything I get from conferences, part numbers and phone numbers are in those two documents.” 

She created The Hub so employees can find the answer to most questions on their own. “Every time we would bring in a new employee, I would find these gaps of knowledge,” Stevens says. “Trying to onboard someone was so painful; not because of them, but because there was so much knowledge to try to retain.” The Hub gives employees a resource to turn to when Stevens is off work or unavailable. “It was born out of desperation to never have to answer the same question twice.” 

Online shopping is a relevant topic in the parts department since it can be a more convenient and less costly resource than shopping in-store. Recognizing this, the parts team reminds customers about the value of buying locally. 

 “Most people don’t realize that Amazon is a third-party reseller,” Stevens says. “People can buy a lightbar for $100 cheaper, but they lose someone to call if something goes wrong. Much of the time there are limitations on returns, and they lose someone to call for a warranty or parts needed later.” 

The parts team tackles the impact of online shopping by reminding customers to consider guarantees, warranties and parts availability as crucial factors during their purchasing process.

Keeping a focus on the internet, “We’re figuring out how to play online. I use the word ‘play’ intentionally,” Steven says. “How do we show our humanity and our personality? The fact that we can have such a big dealership in the middle of cow country shows our customer care. We’ve been really working on strategies to translate that online, so customers know who we are and 
how we care.”

The dealership has a presence on multiple social media platforms and Stevens shares that interacting with Facebook groups is especially beneficial. 

“There are a ton of mud events and mud parks where you can go ride and a lot of those have Facebook groups. We’ll post on other platforms, but the sense of community, I have not been able to recreate it anywhere else except for a Facebook group. And most of the Facebook groups we don’t even own, we just participate in, and that’s good enough.”

Family is an important aspect of the ARS Powersports business culture. For Stevens, she especially feels at home working with both her husband and her mom, Isabel Perez Soto, who works in accounting. 

Stevens also appreciates the freedom to experiment as a means to discover more effective processes. “They’ve never shut us down and said, ‘no this is the only way this has to happen,’” she says. 

The dealership carried Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Yamaha then added Can-Am three years ago. Since taking on Can-Am, the dealership has become increasingly busy. “I’ve been able to almost double my numbers every year for the past three years running,” Stevens says.

ARS Powersports was relocated to a 14,000 square foot facility in 2022, tripling in size. “They were able to buy the majority of the land around us too,” she says. “It was smart in future proofing, so there are plans to put a warehouse on site.”

Customers will drive anywhere from an hour to two hours to visit the dealership’s rural location, according to Stevens. “We have a really good reputation out here.” She shares that there are more cows than people in Okeechobee, so employees are recruited from other counties or employees are relocated to combat staffing challenges. 

When employees have transitioned out of the dealership in the past, Stevens has informally asked what factors made their job difficult. “I had the Rebel’s playbook going, but I didn’t have it for my team,” she explains. After hearing from a former employee about the challenge of retaining extensive information about the parts department and the uncertainty about where to find answers, she introduced The Hub to provide a centralized resource for her team.

The Hub also includes Lightspeed data. “I made a simple dashboard of [the employees], so they know what they need to do every day and where they’re at in numbers. 

I make it very easy for anyone to know where they’re standing.” This data holds employees accountable and pushes them towards success.

“When you’re doing it right, it feels like magic; when your team is running right and when your resources are right,” Stevens says.


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