This year, March came in like a lamb, which means if the tradition holds true, it should go out like a lion. But regardless of what the weather is doing outside, motorcycle enthusiasts came out in full force to customer appreciation night at the soft opening of Apex Cycle and Motor Sports. Their new digs are located at the top of Shantz Hill, south of the 401, where Cambridge meets Kitchener.
I arrived at the venue to discover that the parking lot was jam-packed with vehicles, many still relentlessly circling the lot hoping to find even an unofficial spot to park their ride. Inside, the atmosphere was friendly and optimistic amidst the Million-$-PLUS selection of inventory sitting, beckoning, magnificent, on the massive showroom floor.
Motorsport people are thrill-seekers. They love the acceleration, the red lining, the G-forces prying at their face, and the extreme noise factor achieved from the exhaust system as you scream under an overpass at high revs.
Yes, some of them are willing to embrace debt to live their passion, but many of the "appreciated customers" present at the opening event held trades, and professional credentials which afforded them the luxury of this passion.
Families too, embraced the sport and used it as a reason to play together.
"When it comes to the economic downturn, FUN is the last thing that sport-minded people are willing to relinquish," says Chad Seip, Operations Manager at Apex.
Seip assured me that this evening was a no-pressure come-as-you-like event. There were no visible signs of a sales pitch, just the enjoyment of a mutual love for the industry, and the products which deliver the experience.
There was a lot of inventory up for consideration. In one tiny corner there was a $100,000 worth of gleam and might. Across the aisle, another 100 G's.
Apex has an all-season reach for their stable of product lines. From snowmobiles to ATV's, Recreational 4-wheelers, to industry utility applications. They are ready to serve--all year long.
It was like being turned loose in an adult candy store. But wait! There were kids there too. Not only were they there, but they were independant of their care-givers, they were exploring their own attraction to the thrill which has brought several hundred people to the same place on the same night.
This was a terrible location for a furniture store (the former United Furniture Warehouse) but a perfect location for a Motor Sport company.
Dan Putnam and his son Brendan were two peas in a pod separated by age but connected by three generations of motor sport fever. Brendan's grampa --in his 70's-- just bought anew riding machine. It passion never leaves the blood stream.
Between Dan and Brendan they own 5 machines, several of which, they have on display in the livingroom of their family house. I kid you not...and they had the smart phone photo gallery to document this quirky phenomenon. A tolerant mother and wife is necessary for this arrangement to work. (She is an angel in disguise.) In their world, you do not simply offer your guests a chair or a couch to sit on. At the Putnam's there is the option of sitting on a motorcycle. (I'm sure Ma Putnam draws the line at merely sitting on them.)
The Putnam's have Rave reviews for the Apex people. As did many of those polled that night. This helps create a healthy bottomline, which is paramount in a time which is rumoured to be bordering on recession.
Apex also has a wide reach within the recreation field itself. They market Ducati (a Ferrari-like two-wheeled brand) KTM: the ultimate in rugged and motocross competition, as well as continetal touring machine (you want to drive across Africa and Asia? This is the brand for you.); Vespa and Piaggio: for urban transport, retro loving, budding poets and beatnicks etc.; Victory: another legend on the rise, and competition to those who desire options for the Harley-Davidson brand; Polaris: which has sequed into an ATV company from a snowmobile brand.
One customer stated that he was glad for Apex's Cambridge arrival because in his words "Cambridge is a sport vehicle dealership starved area."
Where there is passion there is opportunity, where there is FUN, you will find dedicated-to-fun loving people.
If you're looking for FUN, you may want to drop in to Apex to see what all the fuss is about.
Below: Dan and Brendan Putnam (View more photos aboveby clicking on link.)
View Short video with Chad Seip about Apex (Please adjust video volume to your comfort level)