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Koup's Cycle Shop
The Story

Koup's Cycle Shop Inc.

The Good Times Store History.

Excitement and satisfaction are important parts of Larry Koup's life. In the 1960s, his motorcycle racing exploits excited crowds along the East Coast with wins that included the Windber Road Race and the Daytona 200 Sportsman Class. Today he brings satisfaction to hundreds of motorsports enthusiasts in central Pennsylvania through sales and service.

Larry, with the help of his father Ralph, opened Koup's Cycle Shop in a garage behind their Oberlin, Pennsylvania, home in 1957. The store was originally a welding shop that Ralph opened.

It started as a part-time business selling the BSA line of motorcycles. Bultaco, Moto Morini and Rickman products were soon added, then in the 1960s they introduced Kawasaki to their line-up and made the shop a full-time business venture.

1970

Today it's Koup's Cycle Shop Inc. with Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Ducati  as well as Kawasaki Teryx and Mules. Ralph and Larry have passed away, but it's still a family affair with Larry's wife, Zelda, and son, David, owners of the franchise. "My grandfather and dad  were both motorcycle enthusiasts," David states. "My father had his first one at age 16." David caught this motorcycling "bug" too and began riding at the age of 6. Today he is the shop's general manager and loves every minute of it. "Dad never coaxed me or influenced me in any of my decisions," Dave confesses. "I enjoy this business, so it just fell into place."

1986

In over the years Koup's has seen many changes in this industry. It's expanded to include a wider number of sport-type vehicles used for transportation, recreation and work use. Apparel, accessories and service are now key elements of the motorcycle store.

But most important to the Koup's growth is what hasn't changed: the owners are still in love with motorcycles and still provide the friendly customer service.

TEAMWORK

Together, Dave and Zelda make an excellent team; Zelda with her years of experience guiding the way and Dave contributing new ideas and energy. Zelda is secretary/treasurer with the office management responsibility and also acts as the "employee counselor." As Dave claims, "she's the real boss!" Dave's wife, Brenda, works as the title clerk and their son Sam is showing interest in motorcycling. " I can’t keep him off the bikes" , Dave says. The Koup family is assisted by eleven other full time employees and some part time employees too.

The dealership sits on the "Koup block," about five miles down the Susquehanna River from the state capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The storefront belies the broad scope of the inside. A wide assortment of accessories are situated throughout the dealership with 2 large split level showrooms featuring the products. In the rear of the showroom is the parts department and the service department.

SALES STRATEGY

Behind the Koup’s success is a sales strategy emphasizing honesty and customer satisfaction, reliable service performed by factory-certified mechanics and a willingness to change.  "But before any changes begin we talk it over. Communication is how it works," Zelda says. David  believe a customer's association with the business does not end with the sale; it's the beginning. The sale sets the stage for an ongoing relationship that encourages the customer's return for accessories, parts, service and even a few social events. This on-going association also leads to many referrals of new customers.

CREATING CUSTOMER LOYALTY

Along with the complete line of Kawasaki, Suzuki and Ducati  motorcycles, ATVs and Mule utility vehicles.

From the beginning, the Koup’s based their reputation on customer service. "We are just flat-out straight with the customer," . "I treat them the way I'd like to be treated." Dave says. "I've learned over the years that if someone wants to bring back a part, give him his money back. One day we went through the store and took down all the signs that said '15 percent Restocking Charge,' 'No Return on Special Order,' no this, no that. We thought, 'Would we want to be treated like that?" The Koup’s also try to make motorcycling more of a social event. "People just don't ride their bikes enough," David feels. "They are looking for things to do." 

A RETAIL-ORIENTED STORE LAYOUT

This store does not look like a typical motorcycle dealership. Koup's merchandising strategies are largely borrowed, not from power sport vehicles dealers or even auto dealers, but from stores at area malls. "Not everything works all the time, but we never stop trying different things," Dave admitted. Koup’s is constantly trying new things to keep the store interesting and a fun place to shop. Few years ago they brought in an interior designer and they again remodeled the store to his designs. A second floor has been added to increase the parts department, office space and internet sales division.

2002

THE SERVICE CONNECTION

Dave believes motorcycles have become almost too dependable. "The major things we see go wrong are caused by lack of use." Regardless of the cause, Koup's recognizes there is more to it than just fixing the bike. The customer expects the work to be completed on time and at a price he can afford.

Their mechanics are certified by Kawasaki,  Suzuki,   and Ducati . They also do performance work on motorcycles, ATV's and even some specialty work on motocross bikes. "We offer full dyno services. They've found a computerized parts inventory system to be a real benefit. All parts at the dealership are logged in the computer so the mechanic can tell instantly if a needed part is in stock. If a part is needed, they can order it directly by computer, get an estimated delivery date, and tell the customer almost immediately when the repair will be done.

Koup's buys a lot of older bikes to use for parts repair jobs. "Today people are fixing up old motorcycles and trying to keep them on the road," David explains. "This part of the business is really growing. For example, a new rectifier costs $150-$200, and many of these bikes are just not worth that type of repair. By stocking a supply of old parts, we can inexpensively fix up a bike and make the customer happy."

The service and parts departments are also important because of the many bikes ,sold privately between individuals. While an individual can't provide the type of guarantee a dealer can, they can still use, and will probably need, dealer service.

THE FUTURE

The future for Koup's is looking bright. Their plans include doing mostly what they've been doing for over 50 years; satisfying customers and encouraging them to come back. With the expanding interest of the world wide web and eBay, this influenced Koup’s to be on the Internet.

Koup's also gets a lot of return business, even years after the last purchase. "We get a lot of return customers that we sold to five or ten years ago who got out of motorcycling for a while and now are getting back into it. When a person gets married and starts to buy a house, they often liquidate everything they own. After they get settled in, we see them back again."

Success never comes easy, but when you look closely at Koup's Cycle Shop Inc., you'll find their success lies in listening to what their customers need, standing behind every product they sell and having a close working relationship among all employees, especially those named "Koup."

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