Motocross Action Magazine Interview: Gregg Foster - Service Honda
The men behind the logos don’t always get the publicity that their high-paid racers do. These men toil behind the scenes. These men don’t know the meaning of nine-to-five and would never be happy taking a vacation during the racing season. The motocross industry is forged by these men. They have dedicated countless hours, risked their finances, and based their lives on the premise of service to the sport of motocross.
The MXA staff decided to interview some of the mover-and-shakers of the motocross biz in an effort to share some of the wisdom, inspiration and experiences of the men behind the logos.
HOW DID YOU START WITH SERVICE HONDA?
“I started as a customer. The dealer principal at Service Honda asked me if I wanted to buy the place. I had only gotten out of school two years before and had the small issue of no money. He had a job i Minnesota and was going to leave in two weeks, so he said if I wanted to buy it we would work out the whole money thing. So I bought it on contract. Back then Service Honda wasn’t what it is today, it was a 2500-square-foot dealership with two computers, and one was broken.”
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE SERVICE HONDA 500?
“A guy named Mickey Kessler made some frame mounts so you could put a CR500 engine in your CR250 frame. Back then it was really straightforward—it was more of an engine swap. A guy at our shop always wanted to have the fastest bike, so he built a 500, but it cost him over $13,000, and that was in 1997 money! That was when the wheels started turning to try and figure out how to do it economically. We figured it out over the course of several months and brought all the work in-house shortly afterward.”
WHAT IS THE SINGLE GREATEST THIN YOU HAVE LEARNED IN YOUR BUSINESS EXPERIENCE?
“Things change fast. You have to be extremely adaptable.”
IS THERE ANYONE YOU TURN TO FOR ADVICE?
“The person who I discuss things with continually is AJ Waggoner. I call him The Godfather. He was also a Service Honda customer before coming here. He was a motocross guy and wanted one of the bikes. He came to me and said he wanted to make more of these bikes, and if we couldn’t work something out he was going to do it anyway. At first he worked as a contractor, and then, by 1999, the whole thing exploded and he became an employee.”
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THE CUSTOMERS?
“Be honest and be forthright with customers. What we have seen is a continuous evolution of what the customers want. What was acceptable 1 years ago certainly isn’t today. The quality of the product and the customer experience is much better.”