Don Brown and SuperMax celebrate new partnership at the Boar's Head Inn in Charlottesville, VA. Top (L-R): Andre Ferreira, sales manager, A Goff Limousine; Dan Goff, SuperMax owner and general manager, A Goff Limousine. Bottom Row (L-R): Brian O'Neill, regional sales manager, Don Brown Bus Sales; Barry Gross, A Goff executive director, AJ Thurber, general sales manager, Don Brown Bus Sales.
RUCKERSVILLE, VA — In a deal finalized late last week, SuperMax Motors of Ruckersville, Va., has become a distributor of Don Brown Bus Sales vehicles.
SuperMax is owned by Dan Goff, also the general manager of A Goff Limousine and Bus Company, which is owned by his wife, Ana Regina Goff.
SuperMax, which previously sold only used vehicles, will now have access to Don Brown’s full new inventory. “It’s a win-win situation for everybody involved for sure,” said A.J. Thurber, general sales manager for Don Brown Bus Sales. Thurber pointed to Goff’s success as an operator and SuperMax’s already steady business for reasons the partnership was so appealing.
Both parties bring something to the table, Goff said. “It’s definitely a benefit for us. Don Brown has the best equipment in the business. And they’re getting access to our customer base.”
As part of the deal, SuperMax will have demo units at its facility as well as lease vehicles for use in A Goff’s fleet. This will allow Goff to not just become familiar with new models, but also ensure that enough inventory is on the ground in the region. One obstacle he sees for smaller operators considering a minibus purchase is that their access to new vehicles is limited.
On the flipside, Goff’s business will also serve as a “test kitchen,” providing real-world feedback to Don Brown as they roll out new models for the livery industry. “We are just psyched that we get to be at the forefront of these new units,” Goff said.
Although the partnership does not limit SuperMax to selling in a specific territory, Goff emphasized that Southeast operators will benefit from the partnership. And as an experienced operator himself, Goff said he will bring that mindset to the business.
“One of the hallmarks of SuperMax Motors is that when someone calls us looking for a minibus, we have been in their chair. We have struggled with looking to buy new, looking to buy used, challenges getting financing, and what brands stand the test of time. We empathize and can help them make decisions modeled on their specific needs.”
As an experienced operator, Goff also has practical knowledge he can apply, having dealt with all the issues an operator faces when adding a bus to a fleet.
“Say you get a shuttle contract and that contract requires Wi-Fi,” Goff said. “On the face of that, that’s an easy thing. You screw a router in there, you put a Wi-Fi card in and, voilà, you’ve got Wi-Fi. But there may be other things involved. Well-functioning Wi-Fi may require design decisions, how many cards, what service provider works in the area where you’re traveling, how you deal with passwords.”
Thurber and Goff expect bus sales to rise in the near future, due to the fact that many operators have held back adding to their fleets until the economy started improving.
“Certainly operators have been holding onto their equipment longer than in past years and that equipment is aging,” Thurber said. “So there is going to be an uptick in the respect that it’s going to be a necessity to replace these vehicles.”
Goff added: “In the livery business, there’s no question that fleets have aged. There’s gonna be a jack-knife in demand. And people like to deal with dealers in their region if they can.”
— Denis Wilson, LCT East Coast Editor