Business Reviews

Reno's Yamaha Aprilia KC - Where the Road To Adventure Begins

Written by  April 30, 2006

I first met Steve Okenfuss, owner of Reno’s Yamaha Aprilia, at our Star Riders chapter meeting. Steve is not only the owner of Reno’s Yamaha Aprilia, but is also the founding dealer of the Star Riders Chapter 227.

Steve is very involved with the Star Riders chapter and supports numerous charity rides. When I purchased my second bike from Reno’s, I found out first-hand that Steve is an all-around nice guy.

Reno’s is the largest Yamaha dealer in the Kansas City metro area and the 20th largest Aprilia dealer in the USA. They recently picked up the Swift line of custom motorcycles as well.

Reno’s recently finished an expansion that doubled the size of their showroom and tripled the size of their service department and will host a Grand Reopening on Saturday, May 20, 2006.

When Cycle Connections asked me to do a write-up on Reno’s and interview Steve, I was excited, to say the least.

CC: Steve, what year did you open Reno’s?
Steve: We opened in 2001.

CC: How many people did you have when you opened up?
Steve: None.

CC: None? Just you?
Steve: You got it, just me.

CC: How many people do you have now?
Steve: Three salesmen, three parts people, and five certified mechanics.

CC: Is this your first shop?
Steve: This is the first motorcycle store I’ve owned, but I had an ownership interest in two automobile dealerships before I did this and was a banker for 21 years before that.

CC: When did you first have the dream to open your own motorcycle shop?
Steve: I started trading motorcycles when I was a kid, and I’ve done it my whole life.

CC: What was your first bike?
Steve: A 50 cc Honda scooter.

CC: Sounds like my Cushman.
Steve: We stripped the bearings off of it thinking it would go faster. It didn’t work.

CC: So you have felt the need for speed ever since then.
Steve: I started with that and when I was 14 years old I bought a CV-160 Honda and the rest, as they say, is history.

CC: How many bikes have you owned, and what do you ride now?
Steve: I sort of lost count. I lost count at 180 motorcycles that I’ve owned. The most I ever had was 17 at once, which is the reason battery tenders exists. I currently ride an Aprilia Tuono factory.

CC: How many charity events do you sponsor?
Steve: We’re involved in at least five or six.

CC: How long have you supported the Star Riders Chapter 227?
Steve: I’m the founding dealer, so we started the chapter.

CC: What year did you start the chapter?
Steve: It was in 2002, I think.

CC: What events do you have coming up for the spring?
Steve: We’re going to have our grand reopening on May 20.

CC: There will be lots of stuff there… Cycle Connections girls will be here, hamburgers… Do you have any specials going on that day?
Steve: I have some special discounts on parts and accessories and we will have a sale on new and used motorcycles, ATVs and scooters.

CC: What made you decide to sell and service the Swifts?
Steve: I’ve always enjoyed custom bikes. I love the looks and the ride of the customs and I’ve just always thought that of those that are available in the marketplace, Swift was the one I thought was the premium line of custom-built motorcycles. Swift Motorcycle Company has been in business about 12 years. They are in Phoenix, Arizona and are the only custom with a 3-year unlimited mileage warranty and a roadside assistance program that comes with the bike. They're just a very high quality motorcycle. When the previous Swift dealer decided to retire, there was an opportunity to pick up the line, so I felt really fortunate to be able to get it.

CC: So they stand behind their stuff?
Steve: They are excellent. Their warranty is the best in the business.

CC: How did you choose your location? This is pretty centrally located.
Steve: When I decided to open a motorcycle shop, it was more a matter of going someplace that had sort of been overlooked. There really isn’t a Yamaha shop within 25 miles of here.

CC: What about Swift? 40-50 miles?
Steve: I don’t think there’s another Swift dealer for a couple hundred miles.

CC: So this is the place to go for all your Swift and Yamaha needs.
Steve: Yes, and Aprilia.

CC: What future plans do you have for Reno’s. I know you have the Star barbecue coming up in mid-October.
Steve: Yes, over Labor Day.

CC: I know you have enlarged the shop and the clothing and motorcycle lines. Do you have any future plans for Reno’s?
Steve: We are just in the throes of finishing an expansion that more than doubled the size of our showroom and parts area, and with that, we carry a lot more parts and accessories now.

We feature the Star line so we carry all the aftermarket and Yamaha performance upgrades and Star accessories, which really is a great opportunity to personalize your bike to make it look, ride, sound and handle the way you want it to ride. It’s very high quality stuff.

We basically tripled the size of our service department, and that is obviously one of our fastest growing areas. Roger, our service manager has been in the business for 30 years and is really adept at getting people’s machinery in and out and getting them serviced and fixed the first time, making the necessary repairs to keep the bikes running well.

Of course we service ATVs, scooters, generators, and anything in the Yamaha, Swift and Aprilia line-up. With the expansion coming to a close this summer we are focusing on being able to service a lot more people to get more bikes in and out of the service department more quickly and the excellent thing about having the space is now we have the display, so our motto is we carry all Yamahas, all colors, all the time, and that makes it good for our customers, because when they want to see a specific bike, they know they can come to Reno’s and see it.

We make the investment to have the inventory so the customers can choose what they want. Aprilia has a lot of new stuff for ’06. They are an Italian manufacturer, who is part of the Piaggio group, a very exciting machine. They are one of the premier Superbike builders in the 1000 cc liter category. The new RSVR is out already, the new Tuono is out, and those are 2007 models. This year we also get the Supermotard and the new 450 V-Twin motocross bike from Aprilia, and those are going to be absolutely state of the art; there is really nothing like them in the market.

CC: So you will have some of those in this summer?
Steve: I’m hoping we’re going to get the first shipment of them in this month, so they are right around the corner. Those bikes are gong to be awesome.

CC: So you will have them to show off for the May 20 event?
Steve: Yamaha’s lineup changes every year. The new R6 is the #1-rated Supersport in the market in the 600 class and it is just drop-dead gorgeous, absolutely top-drawer state of the art technology. The new FJR-1300 is out. We have that bike in stock so people can actually see it. That is a special order-only motorcycle, and next month we get the electric shift, which is the Supersport tour bike. It is clutchless, so it actually comes with a computer module that operates the clutch. It doesn’t even have a clutch handle on the left anymore.

CC: Will that be in by May?
Steve: Yes, that will be in May. These bikes are going to be very coveted, very sought after.

CC: People need to come by and check them out.
Steve: Right now we have new Swift inventory coming in, basically every week, so the bobber is out, the new Tormentor is out, as well as the Punisher. I should get a Punisher today or tomorrow, and or course we have the Bar Choppers in stock.

CC: So who's responsible for the day-to-day operations at your dealership?
Steve: Roger is our service manager, Jamie is our parts manager, Nick is our business manager and Keith is our sales manager, so a lot of people to take care of folks.

It’s an exciting time of year. We are the largest Yamaha dealer in the metro area and the 20th largest Aprilia dealer in the USA. Our whole M.O. is service and taking care of the folks who do business with us.

No matter what kind of adventure you are looking for—chopper, road bike, off road or generators, speed or cruise, the road to adventure begins at Reno’s.

CC: Thank you Steve, for taking the time to chat with us and we're really looking forward to all the fun and excitement that will be taking place at your Grand Reopening and throughout the year!

Make sure to watch the Cycle Connections Local Rallies & Events calendar for Reno’s upcoming events in May and throughout the summer, including their Labor Day event. The Cycle Connections booth will be set up at Reno’s Grand Reopening on Saturday May 20 with prizes, fun, and of course the Cycle Connections girls.

What better way to spend your Saturday than at Reno’s with friends, hot dogs, hamburgers, and great sale prices on bikes, accessories and apparel. Reno’s will have a new shipment of Swifts and Yamaha bikes on display and of course their top-notch sales staff would love to help you out...and did I mention the Cycle Connections girls?

By Phil Peeler

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