Bjorn first heard about the Segway® Personal Transporter (PT) shortly after it was launched. The popular tech sites, feber.se and engadget.com, had posted stories on Dean Kamen, the PT’s inventor, as well as the product’s features and benefits. Finally in 2009, Bjorn had an opportunity to ride one at Sweden’s largest tourism tradeshow.
“The PT was so easy to ride! After trying it, I couldn’t stop thinking about riding again and possibly owning one. I was interested in commuting to my job, using my car less and reducing my carbon foot print.”
Finally, in October 2010, the PT was classified by Sweden as a bicycle. It was now legal to ride on public roads and sidewalks. Bjorn purchased a PT that same year. He added, “I commute to work, which is about 10 kilometers each way and I always get there with a smile on my face.”
Bjorn works at a large campsite that’s visited by families and lots of children, He shares, “I often ride my PT around camp, which is a large property. I get around quickly and the PT helps me to be more visible. The extra height it provides ensures that I can see children playing and riding their bikes — and they can see me. At camp, it’s all about having fun while being safe.”
The most entertaining aspect of being a PT owner is having people envy your ride. Bjorn shares, “When I first purchased my PT, my family and friends thought it was an expensive investment. I disagreed and conveyed that I was excited to leave my car at home, save on fuel, not have to hunt for a parking space and so much more. Now, they see how much fun I have and how happy I am. They want to ride my PT — and they never want to get off!”
“When I first realized the Segway PT could change my life, I was excited,” said Hans. “It’s an amazing way to get around. I’m completely independent. I can go where I want, when I want, and its fun!”
Hans primarily rides his PT in his hometown of Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands. He says, “I do my shopping, visit my doctor or go to the gym. Hans also rides while on holiday in Paris, Nice and Amsterdam and adds, “I’m 70 years old. My PT gives me the freedom to enjoy my life to the fullest.”
“My friends, and even passersby, often comment on my PT, saying things like — How does it work?…You’re movements are so fluid…It looks like you’re dancing,” shared Hans. “I’m glad people are interested in the product. The Segway PT genuinely enriches my life. Whenever I’m riding there’s a smile on my face.”
Absolutely Awe Struck!
Dave Holzapel first had an opportunity to ride a Segway® Personal Transporter (PT) after his brother-in-law, Rodney, purchased one of the earliest models – the p133. Dave commented, “Rodney used the PT to commute. I tried it and was absolutely awe struck!” Soon after that experience Dave and his wife, Sandy, ventured to Mount Dora, Florida to take an off-road Segway PT Tour. They enjoyed it so much they purchased two Segway x2 PTs.
Looking for a Change
While purchasing those units from the local Authorized Segway Dealer, Dave and Sandy became friendly with its owners. At the same time, Dave was contemplating a career change after working in an executive sales role for an inventory management company for several years. Dave shares, “It was February 2008. After weathering several corporate mergers and acquisitions, I was looking for a change. Sandy and I were confident that I could easily transfer my business, and particularly my sales experience, and together we could make the dealership a success.”
The Holzapels began their new venture in an 800 square foot retail location with an inventory of 8 PTs. Four short years later, in 2012, they purchased a building in close proximity. This new 2,500 square foot space retail store front, staffed by 6 people, includes a training area, service shop, warehouse as well as a considerable inventory of PTs, accessories and parts. “The business has always been solid, but once we opened our expanded location, business exploded and we’ve never looked back. Our model is built on exemplary customer service. This location empowers us to deliver high-level service on every front.”
Easy to Service, Easy to Own
Dave strongly believes in ensuring the PT is easy to service and therefore easy to own. The customer base is made up of approximately 75% commercial customers, which include convention center, resort and hospital operations, security and catering teams as well as tour operators, security firms and law enforcement departments. Dave says, “Our team is Level 3 service trained, a notable competitive edge. This means that we provide the same level of service expertise as Segway factory technicians. Quite literally, 95% of our service business is built around my commercial customers. They can’t afford to be immobile as it directly affects their efficiency and productivity. I’m consistently on the road providing service and keeping my customers up and running.”
Building a Loyal Clientele
The dealership’s employees, who are all cross-trained as PT ride trainers, sales people and service technicians, have built a loyal clientele. Dave says, “We all believe that the Segway PT is a billboard. It’s our job to be PT ambassadors — to continually showcase the product and its applications while also promoting the brand. Every opportunity has the potential to translate to sales.” The business relies heavily on its website to offer customers a glimpse into all that Segway of Central Florida offers. Dave and Sandy devote a substantial portion of the marketing budget to developing and maintaining www.segwayofcentralflorida.com and leveraging Google Adwords. Dave adds, “Customers want access to us, our products and service options. They want to make purchases and have them shipped that day. They want to request service and have us arrive that same day. We can accommodate them, which builds trust and loyalty.”
An Incredibly Unique Appeal
The Segway PT has an incredibly unique appeal for a wide variety of markets. “We impact people’s personal or professional lives — day in and day out — and that’s not an overstatement. That’s why we own this dealership…it’s rewarding,” says Dave, “It’s the Segway PT’s technology, quality and reliability that put us in business and keep us in business.”
Become an Authorized Segway Dealer
Interested in learning more about the benefits of becoming an Authorized Segway Dealer? Begin the process by visiting www.segway.com, selecting ‘Become a Dealer’ and completing an application.