THE SHOP

January '20

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JANUARY 2020 THE SHOP 17 W hen SDHQ Offroad in Gilbert, Arizona, was approaching its 20th anniversary and contem- plating a move literally across the street to a brand-new facility, there were an excess of considerations to contemplate, not the least of which was how to properly introduce its audience to the new shop. Due to construction delays, SDHQ Motorsports—the new name for SDHQ Offroad, which reflects an expansion into building race vehicles and supplying more parts for racers—was two months behind moving into the new, 30,000-square-foot facility. Even though it could be seen across a busy major thoroughfare while under con- struction, it still required relocating tons of manufacturing and shop equipment, set- ting up workstations and building offices, storage areas and conference rooms. Owner Ryan Marselis didn't panic, nor did he put undue pressure on his management team or staff. Instead, they worked methodically in the time they had between being able to occupy the building and the planned Grand Reopening cel- ebration. By then, they had put together a well-organized presentation—one that prompted a long-time cus- tomer to remark to Marselis how much better the new facility was than the old store. As Marselis later related to his staff, "I was pleased, of course, but then taken aback. I was proud of our old shop, too, and I said to myself it certainly wasn't that bad, nor that different than what we have here. The big difference is that everything we had stored away is now spread out on the floor and can be seen. Now you have access to our entire inventory." Improving the showroom experience by adding product displays was just one of the many lessons Marselis and S D H Q ( s d h q o f f r o a d . c o m ) learned during the move and rebranding. Of specific interest was what all went into hosting a successful Grand Reopening event that introduced the new SDHQ Motorsports to customers and the community. For shop owners consid- ering a similar refresh and splash—or even just a simple customer appreciation open house—here are some lessons learned regarding the introductory celebration. You can never start planning too early. Before the first shovel of earth was turned, there were meetings with the developer, the management team and vendors. Keep in mind that your vision for a public event at your new facility may not coincide with the timing of your suppliers, and you'll need to remind them intermittently of what you're plan- ning and your expectations of their level of involvement. Renderings don't always equal reality. When moving to a new facility, the physical layout and attributes of that setting may not agree with plans for an organized event. Decorative NEW HORIZONS FOR MOTORSPORTS Lessons learned from a Grand Reopening celebration. Story and photos by Jason R. Sakurai SDHQ's growing team. A new name underscores the expansion into building race vehicles and carrying parts for racers.

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