February '19

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44 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2019 the United States, launching a new retail location in September 2018 through an exclusive partnership with truck cap man- ufacturer LEER in Haltom City, Texas, which is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. While LEER has approximately 700- 800 dealers in North America, it had little representation in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, Funk says. However, as a manufacturer, LEER wasn't interested in opening its own retail store in the area, he continues. Rather, LEER wanted to leverage an established retailer and chose Cap-it as its partner after an internal referral. As Cap-it continues to move forward with the LEER partnership, it has mapped 15 locations for new storefronts in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth market. Funk hopes to open three or four new store- fronts a year. However, with location being such a critical component to Cap-it's success, the timeline is dependent upon site avail- ability. A WARM RETAIL ENVIRONMENT Along with Cap-it's franchise model and strategic retail expansion plan, Funk attri- butes much of the company's success to its in-store experience. A 12-foot multiscreen display greets customers as they enter into a well-lit, clean space, and products are placed in an organized and streamlined manner. Once the customer purchases an acces- sory, Cap-it installs it onsite while the customer waits in a comfortable retail environment where he or she can look on through an 18-foot glass wall. "We start the customer experience with the first step they take into our store," Funk explains. "When our customers come in, it's like walking into a Best Buy. It's not a greasy shop but a full-on retail environment. Then, they see all the truck accessories they never even knew existed for their vehicles, so they know we're committed and feel comfortable buying from us." With so many accessories to choose from, Funk finds it gives an air of excite- ment to the customers. The variety of accessories allows them to build a vehicle that reflects their active lifestyle, which not only personalizes the shopping experi- ence but also inspires them to think about additional possibilities. "We like to say we've added something new to the auto industry," Funk says. "We're selling the adventure of the vehicle. That's something the auto dealerships have always lacked over the years, but when customers come to our showrooms and see absolutely everything they can get for their sport utility, truck or van, it gives such a wow factor." Of course, a retail environment's success largely depends on its staff. A clean, well- lit showroom creates a comfortable ambi- ance, but employees ultimately dictate the mood of an environment, so hiring the right people is important. For Funk, it comes down to someone's personal energy. Having the right skills and qualifications is necessary, but he also looks for someone who can both exude energy and bring out energy in others. The thinking is that kind of infectious charisma can't help but rub off on cus- tomers, making their in-store experience even more positive. Headed Down South A crowd gathers to see Cap-it's first U.S. store, opened in partnership with LEER in Hal- tom City, Texas. (Photo courtesy Cap-it) Truck shells are one of Cap-it's most popular products. (Photo courtesy Cap-it)

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