Mid-America Powersports to sell or close

By Carrie Rengers
Wichita Eagle
July 17th, 2013

Earlier this week, Ross Reed thought he was going to close his Mid-America Powersports. Since he began telling customers, though, there’s now a chance he could sell the business.

“It’s kind of one of those fluid situations,” Reed says.

The store, which opened in 1988 and is in four buildings at 333 N. West St., is “a mixture of several businesses that I purchased over the years,” Reed says.

He sells motorcycles, ATVs, watercraft and power products, such as lawnmowers.

“It’s a huge deal here, and it’s very rare in this industry unless you’re on one of the coasts,” Reed says of the variety of merchandise he offers. “We’re a destination store.”

Though Reed says the business is financially solid, the economy is behind his decision to close.

“My wife and I didn’t take this decision lightly,” he says. The struggle is too much, Reed says.

“We’re just tired.”

Reed hasn’t been successful in marketing the business for the last four years, so his plan was to close shop and sell his buildings. Marlin Penner of John T. Arnold Associates is helping him sell the property, which has more than four acres and could be divided. The buildings have a combined total of more than 40,000 square feet.

Now, Reed says there are four potential buyers, one of whom seems especially interested, and he says he’s willing to sell or lease his property.

If he’s forced to close, Reed says he hopes it might make people think twice before buying products that aren’t local.

“If you don’t support your local business, this is what happens.”

Reed says sometimes people shop out of state to avoid paying more in sales tax.

“Those taxes are collected for a purpose,” he says.

As a businessman, Reed says he’s purchased real estate and built buildings and paid to support schools, police and other services through taxes.

“At one time we had 50 people working here. This was not a small business.”

Today, there are 21 employees.

“I’m a little bit of a politician these days,” Reed says of sharing his thoughts. He hesitates to talk freely about how he feels about shopping local, but he says, “Maybe it’ll help … some other businesses.”

Or, it may help someone who buys his business, which Reed hopes is what happens.

“It would be good for my customers and employees. I think it would be good for the city.”

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