March '20

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MARCH 2020 THE SHOP 25 SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY Joe and Dana Marshall's MULE Expedition Outfitters in Issaquah, Washington was doing great with an experienced staff and great clientele. Expansion, while a topic the husband and wife team had kicked around from time to time, wasn't really at the top of their list of things to do. After all, they had spent a considerable amount of time and energy to make MULE a standout in the Seattle/Tacoma overland community, and they were enjoying the fruits of their labor, so to speak. Last summer, however, the couple received a call from one of their foremost suppliers, who informed them that a shop in Portland, Oregon was going out of busi- ness, and wondered if they'd be interested in being the company's exclusive dealer for that area. A bit of background will make the Mar- shalls' decision-making process clearer: There is no state sales tax in Oregon, unlike Washington. For enthusiasts in Washington living anywhere close to the Oregon border, or if they're making a major purchase such as a truck camper, it can mean a consider- able savings to buy in Oregon. Dana and Joe knew this from sales they had lost—and continue to lose—not because they were unable to provide supe- rior customer service, but because they simply couldn't afford to offset the Wash- ington sales tax. With this in mind, and despite the SEMA Show coming up fast, they found a loca- tion in the Portland suburb of Tualatin, Oregon right off a major thoroughfare. Commuting back and forth from Issaquah to Tualatin (about three hours each way), they took everything they had learned from their existing store and set about applying it to the new location. GROWTH PLAN The Marshalls' growth strategy is a sound one. According to, the leading way to grow a business is to open another location. Still, it shouldn't be entered into lightly. "Expansion isn't always the best answer without careful research, planning and number-planning," says small-business speaker, writer and consultant Frances McGuckin, who asks the following of anyone considering another location: • Are you sure you've maintained consistent Ideally, this is how a grand opening should look, with plenty of foot traffic all day long. Luckily, other businesses weren't open that day, as the parking lot was over capacity. Blankets, bags and apparel—do you offer everything needed to enjoy an outdoor excursion? Notice how inviting this truck camper display is with its awning un- furled and camping gear set up. DEALERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE FOR THE ALL ELECTRIC BUNDUTOP ROOFTOP TENT BUNDUTOP BUNDUAWN ADDED ROOM 319-234-0071

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