Steve Seltzer said his best friend, Robin Baker, came up with the idea for the two of them to go into the powersports business.
"Everyone that comes in and buys something is excited. It is a big day for them. It is a lot of fun to work with people who have waited a long time to do this," Seltzer said.
Seltzer opened Steve Seltzer Honda April 1, 2005, after he purchased Saylor Honda on Sixth Avenue. He bought his present building on Sabbath Rest Road near the Pinecroft exit of Interstate 99 in January 2006 and opened the more than 14,000-square-foot location seven months later.
(Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich)
Steve Seltzer shows customer Cathy Tellish of Altoona some features on a Honda Elite scooter Thursday at Steve Seltzer Honda. Tellish purchased a scooter similar to this model.
Recently, Steve Seltzer Honda was named the number five powersports dealer in North America by Dealernews Magazine and honored during the 42nd annual Dealernews International Powersports Expo in Indianapolis.
"He has a great business. The award is not based on volume but more on things like how you operate your business, contributions to the community, design and merchandising," said Mary Slepicka, Dealernews group editorial director. "His exterior and service department were very impressive."
The powersports industry includes motorcycles, scooters, all-terrain vehicles, multipurpose utility vehicles and personal watercraft.
"Am I saying this is my life's dream? It wasn't my dream, it just happened. We [he and Baker] both had ridden Hondas all our lives. It made sense to get into the business," Seltzer said.
Baker, who now lives in Florida, did not become an owner but helps Seltzer with sales.
Cathy Tellish of Altoona was at Seltzer Honda recently, purchasing a new Honda scooter.
"A motorcycle is too big. A scooter feels like something I can handle better," Tellish said. "They made it so easy. All I have to do is ride it and bring it in here if it needs anything."
Seltzer said that since he bought the business, it has grown from the 12th largest volume dealer in his sales district to the second.
"We did about $3 million in sales our first year, and 2008 was our best year with $4.6 million," he said.
Today, Steve Seltzer Honda has more than $2 million in inventory - about 325 vehicles - and about $800,000 in parts and accessories.
Service work has been very important to the success of the business. It was up 30 percent in 2009 in a down economy, Seltzer said.
Seltzer said he draws customers from a wide area - as far away as Washington state and Saskatchewan, Canada.
Seltzer credits his 18 part- and full-time employees for the success of his business.
"I've asked our employees to make sure a customer is greeted properly and treated the way we would want to be treated when they come into the store," Seltzer said. "I give our employees all the credit."
Seltzer said when he was at the banquet, he knew his business was in the top 10 and later found out it was ranked No. 5.
"I am thrilled and honored. It is nice to be recognized by the industry you are in," Seltzer said. "It means something to everyone who works here."
Seltzer, who has a goal to sell 1,000 vehicles a year - he sold 650 in 2009 - is optimistic about the future of the business.
"As gas prices increase, what we sell becomes more popular. I think we will see a nice increase in motorcycle and scooter sales as a result of the gas prices," Seltzer said. "A stronger economy will improve sales in a positive way and Honda's 11 new models will help get us to where we need to be at 1,000 units a year."
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.