March '20

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MARCH 2020 THE SHOP 23 supply and install, you can build off your traditional hard parts inventory of winches, racks, lights, bumpers, rock sliders, suspen- sion lift kits, wheels and tires. Of course, there is a host of other prod- ucts an overland shop will want to offer as well, such as camp stoves, refrigerator/ freezers, generators, rooftop tents, folding chairs, sleeping bags, air mattresses, awnings and even portable toilets. As mentioned earlier, one of your key categories will be knowledge and experi- ence. Helping customers find and obtain things that are useful on the trail such as 4WD driving instruction, photography/ cinematography courses, off-road safety and vehicle recovery classes, gear checkups and related seminars and talks will help earn you the designation of outfitting expert, leading to deeper relationships and more exposure within the market. Having to deal with wild animals while camping, the need to start a fire or build a shelter in inclement weather, and the ability to use navigation equipment are all survival skills that your customers may require at some point while overlanding. Being able to teach them, or providing access to other professionals who can, is a major selling point for your shop. Inviting instructors into your store to conduct training classes may prove to be more beneficial to your clientele than any other product or piece of gear that you sell. Charging a nominal fee to cover the instructor's expenses or having a seminar sponsored by a vendor are a couple of ways you might offset the costs. Regardless of the season or perceived degree of difficulty for overlanding in your area, conditions can change rapidly and it's always prudent to check the weather before venturing outdoors. The survival mentality is one that you and your customers should adopt—always prepare for the worst. Consider that it is every bit as important to get your cus- tomers back safely as it was to sell the products that enabled them to head out in the first place. JASON SAKURAI heads up Roadhouse Marketing, a mar- keting, advertising and sales solutions firm dedicated to the automotive aftermarket. A fre- quent contributor to THE SHOP, Jason's byline appears in many enthusiast and trade publications, in print and online. GO TO THE SHOW If the SEMA Show isn't the end-all for sourcing overland products, where do you need to go in order to find the parts, accessories and other accouterments adventure travelers desire? Lodestone Events ( is the organizer of Overland Expo West in Flagstaff, Arizona, and three additional events in Costa Mesa, California; Arrington, Virginia; and Loveland, Colorado. It is at these events that you'll find Tembo Tusk, CBI, Step 22, Snow Peak and other manufacturers that aren't likely to be exhibiting at SEMA anytime soon. Another series of events called Overland Rally ( takes place in Plain, Washington; British Columbia; and Gunnison, Colorado. Rounding out the events you may want to attend is RecCon Montana (recconmontana. com) in Missoula, Montana. —Jason Sakurai DC DC

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