From Harrison Daily Times
The former Flexsteel building has been sold and will hopefully undergo renovations very soon. Paul Caldwell, Chip Johnson, and Phillip Wood have partnered to provide additional space for Wood Motor Company and Power Sports.
Johnson said they are waiting on approval from Honda and Polaris before the business can be officially moved from the Main Street Location to the Bypass. The partners closed on the purchase from Terry Gage on Tuesday, Nov. 3, and closed on the former Flexsteel property earlier this year.
They are very excited to develop the new property. There is 93 thousand square feet and the team is planning for a massive indoor showroom and a large area for a service center.
Caldwell said, “We are planning on putting a lot of effort into providing great service for our customers. We want to be known for treating our customers right.”
Johnson added, “We’ve done a good job at growing our car dealerships and based on our research we think we can triple the power sports business. If successful this will create a lot of jobs in sales, service, and office staffing.”
Caldwell has a background in marketing with car dealerships. One of his previous customers had expanded from one to 37 dealerships under his assistance. Caldwell’s company was the largest automotive advertising company in the nation before he sold it in 2018.
According to a Global Power Sports Market report, Honda and Polaris are both considered to be key players in the market.
“From a brand standpoint, I don’t think you can have two better brands then Polaris and Honda,” Johnson said.
Johnson has an extensive business background. He graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2005 and went to work for Walmart, who paid for his MBA in 2006. He went to work for IBM from 2006-2018. He served the company in different capacities and lived in Washington, DC. San Diego, California and Dallas, Texas. He was welcomed into the Wood family in 2015 when he married Jessica. They enjoyed living in a variety of places but were ready to come back home in 2018 to partner with Phillip Wood on the Chevy and Nissan store.
Johnson began working with the Chevy Nissan division of Wood Motor and partnered with Caldwell’s advertising company and saw a healthy growth in sales. With his operational background, he was able to help Wood Chevy Nissan reach it’s true potential. “Bill and his sons Steve and Phillip built an amazing business that was founded in 1971. I’m lucky that I get a chance to bring a different perspective from outside the industry to shape it for the future. Phillip and Paul have been great partners that have skill sets I don’t have so we complement each other well.”
In 2019, Johnson and Caldwell purchased a Ford, Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram store on the border of northwest Arkansas and southern Missouri. The two men went from selling 35 cars to 175 cars a month in one year. The guys attribute the success to pricing, treating people right, advertising, operations, sales team and inventory. “We learned a lot,” they both agreed.
“We kept looking for acquisitions,” Johnson said. “This one came up at the same time Flexsteel was for sale. We wanted to buy Flexsteel regardless because we are out of room at Chevrolet Nissan, and so we started inquiring and negotiating with them. We bought it without a plan, even though we didn’t have the Power Sports sale yet. We knew that Wood Motor needed the additional space.” So they proceeded.
Final plans are still in the works. “But we do plan to develop that land, expand Wood Motor Company and we hope to build a new facility for Honda and Polaris with a massive indoor showroom and service center.”
The men don’t see why they can’t triple the business.
“The plan is to make this ‘the’ power sports store that people will travel from all around to come to,” Caldwell said. “I know we are going to do it by treating the customer right and doing the right thing.”
Johnson said, “We’ve had success the last two years and plan to continue to make acquisitions. We’ve done a good job at the ones we’ve taken over and acquired,” Johnson said.
“Honda and Polaris across the country are the typical market share leaders in the segments they serve — with side by sides, ATV and dirt bikes. It’s one of the fastest growing industries in transportation. I think part of that growth is due to COVID because people want to get outside and do more. We live in the premier outdoor area. There is a reason we moved back. This is the prettiest part of the county. This business sits well with all the trails and investments being made in the area. There are lots of opportunities to connect people to getting back outdoors. We are excited about it.”
Currently, Wood Power Sports is located at 824 N. Main Street. The phone number is (870) 741-9500. The store is open 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.