Mid America Motorworks High on Rocky Mountain

Effingham, IL-based multititle cataloger Mid America Motorworks celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. And what better way to celebrate than by acquiring a key rival? In February, Mid America bought Woodland Park, CO-based Rocky Mountain Motorworks. Rocky Mountain was the $40 million-plus Mid America’s largest competitor in the Volkswagen aftermarket accessories marketplace, according to Mid America president/“chief cheerleader” Mike Yager.

The acquisition, which includes Rocky Mountain Motorworks’ inventory, equipment, sales records, URLs, and 800-numbers as well as a house file of 800,000 names, makes Mid America the country’s largest supplier of classic Volkswagen parts and accessories, Yager says. The deal will quadruple the company’s sales Volkswagen accessories.

After filing for bankruptcy protection in 2002, Rocky Mountain had emerged from it last year. But Yager says some suppliers were wary of selling to Rocky Mountain, leading to a sales decline.

“Our goal is to rebuild Rocky Mountain’s business as we merge it into our operations,” Yager says. Yager hopes to have the integration complete in six months.

Rocky Mountain Motorworks had about a dozen employees at the time of the sale; they were given the opportunity to relocate to Effingham. Rocky Mountain’s Woodland Park facility was not included in the sale.

A new name, a new logo

The acquisition isn’t the only way Mid America is marking its birthday. For one thing, the company changed its name from Mid America Direct in February. All three of its catalogs — Mid America Designs (selling Corvette accessories), Tweeks (Porsche accessories), and The Real Source (accessories for VW Beetles) — will now carry the Mid America Motorworks title. All told, Mid America mails about 8 million catalogs a year.

Other company changes include a new slogan — “Pursue Your Passion Here” — a new logo, and plans to build an autocross track and a drag strip, says Yager.

Mid America employed the services of Columbus, OH-based marketing and design agency Integrate for its new branding strategy. “We did a market survey and found that customers couldn’t figure out who we were,” Yager says. Each catalog cover has been redesigned, as have the corresponding Websites. Yager puts the cost of the branding initiative at $750,000.

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