Xtreme triples accessories business
Grandview, Mo.—A little more than a year after its move to a location with abundant drive-by traffic, business is booming for Xtreme Truck & Auto, with much of the additional volume coming from sales and installation of accessories.
“We have a lot more retail traffic at our new location,” said Owner/Operator Brian Kietzmann, who moved the shop from North Kansas City to U.S. 71/I-49 in June 2016. “We’re doing a lot of lift kits, leveling kits, tires and wheels — we do quite a few Jeeps.”
The business made its name as a Rhino Linings dealer, and it remains a popular service, even as more OEMs offer factory-applied bed liners. The shop consistently ranks in the top 10 in the country for sales volume each year, Kietzmann said. On the day of Parts & People’s visit, there were two spray applications for a new-car dealers and two for retail customers. But also on the schedule were the installation of step bars, window tint, and vent visors for a dealer, two bed covers for different dealership customers, an installation of a bolt-on ladder rack for a fleet customer, and for a dealer’s Jeep, a backup camera and tinting the windshield and side windows. All in a typical day’s work.
Accessories now make up about 75 percent of the shop’s volume. After outgrowing his former 8,000-square-foot, three-parking spot location, Kietzmann said he needed more room. He found the ideal location in his purchase of the former Weinberg Dodge dealership, which occupied that footprint from 1966 until 2009, when Chrysler terminated its franchise agreement, an act that affected one in four U.S. Chrysler dealerships. About 130,000 vehicles drive by the new location each day, which sits on nearly two acres and has 15,000 square feet of buildings.
The additional space, which includes several service lifts instead of one, allows for more lift kits, tires, and wheels being sold, he said, with a tire machine and balancer bought from customer Mike Abernathey, owner of Automotive Equipment Solutions.
“I had focused our advertising on lifts, tires, and wheels to help grow that business since we moved,” Kietzmann said. “Then I noticed the Rhino started to fall off, so we refocused and split and started to advertise a little more for spray-in bed liners. It’s funny, when you’re trying to grow one area, you really need to pay attention to what got you where you are, or that could fall off a little bit.”
Tires and wheels are sourced primarily from Fuel Off Road and Wheel Pros, as well as a number of vendors for accessories, with local companies such as Midwest Wheel getting the first call.
“A lot of our customers want it right now, and if you can’t get it in and get it done in a timely manner, it’s possible you’ll lose the sale, especially our dealer customers, who want it yesterday,” he said. “The guys at Midwest Wheel are great to deal with. They deliver twice a day at no charge, and then they have a hotshot delivery that’s usually available, as long as it’s not a $2 part. If I need a cover or a set of step bars right away, they’ll throw it in a truck and run it right out to us.”
For relatively fast movers, Kietzmann said he keeps a certain amount of inventory so that it is readily available for quick installation, including but not limited to step bars, mud flaps, floor mats, brake controllers and wiring harnesses, bed covers, and cargo tie-downs.
With the variety of wheel and tire sizes and models available, it’s difficult to predict what a customer may want, so he stocks few tires and wheels.
“We like our customers to be happy with their purchase, not that they may have to settle for a good deal versus getting what they want, and with Fuel Off Road and Wheel Pros having a warehouse in town, we can usually get them fast.”
Xtreme sublets window-tinting installations for dealerships to X-Tint, which is also Kietzmann’s renter and allows him to offer dealerships a one-stop aftermarket shop. Although he’s offered dealerships terms of 30 or 60 days to add on accessories and place the “preloaded” truck on the lot for sale, most dealers report that the customer often wants the accessories sold at a discount or even thrown in.
“So if they can negotiate the price of the vehicle and then add in the aftermarket afterward, it’s better for the dealer.”