By Ana Alexander
HOWARD LAKE, MN Howard Lake is gaining an authorized all-terrain vehicle (ATV), utility task vehicle (UTV), dirt bike, and go-cart dealer through TC West Motorsports, owned by Bill Lotz.
Lotz has been formally working on the business for a year, but has always been interested in this kind of machinery.
“I had a mini bike when I was 7,” Lotz said. “I’ve been hooked ever since.”
When Lotz got older, he went to school through General Motors, and then moved on to work for them.
“I worked for General Motors for awhile, I worked at dealerships for a number of years, and then eventually went out and had my own independent shop in Minnetonka,” Lotz said.
Lotz is now retired, but was looking for something to get involved with. The natural progression for him was to pursue his longtime love for ATVs, dirt bikes, go-carts, and similar machinery.
“I realized that I wanted something a little more purposeful to do, and with my son, Ted, into [these machines], and of course, my love for it from way back, I started looking into what opportunities might be out here,” Lotz said.
Lotz found that there was a market for machines, specifically inexpensive brands, as opposed to more mainstream brands.
“There’s this whole world of factory direct, no-name machines that are significantly cheaper than the name brands. It’s a pretty big market,” Lotz said. “I check into this brand and a few others, and they’re good. I like them. I can stand behind them and feel good about selling them.”
Lotz mainly sells Coolster and TaoTao brand machines.
“They make everything from mini ATVs, which are for kids around the age of 5, and then they go up from there into a small-size, mid-size, and the full-sized,” Lotz said. “The full-sized ones are still intended for light-duty use and for teenagers, but adults really like them too.”
In addition to selling machines, Lotz also does repairs.
“Right now, I am full-service, servicing the machines that I sell. I’m kind of keeping it to just that,” Lotz said. “Sometimes people ask if I work on lawn mowers and Yamahas, but I’m really just sticking to what I’ve got here, for now.”
Lotz will also be offering a treatment to the machines called Bear-ier, as an extra service for those who request it.
“I have a metal coating compound that is a friction reducer,” Lotz said. “I use it with the machines, to treat the engines and reduce the wear.”
Lotz said one aspect of creating the business that has been especially rewarding is getting to work with his young son, Ted.
“He’s learning a lot, too everything from various responsibilities, managing money, different repair, and maintenance. There’s a whole bunch of things he’s learning here. In just a matter of months, he’s so much more mindful of certain things.”
Lotz is excited to bring more fun into the Howard Lake community, especially for kids who have the same love for ATVs that he had when he was a kid.
“I really enjoy working with kids. It is so much fun when the kids come out, and it’s like better than Christmas when they’re getting a new machine,” Lotz said. “But also for the parents, being an affordable place.”
Lotz said that some people who haven’t heard much about ATVs, might be hesitant to invest in an ATV, but warm up pretty quickly once they take them for a test drive.
“When they hear them run, and they run great and they take them for a spin they’re totally sold,” Lotz said. “Once they realize that, then a whole new world opens up to them.”
Lotz is looking forward to growing and expanding his business.
“For me, the business is giving me something more important to do. The other thing, too, is it’s a lot more true to my heart. I think as adults, we make decisions to get by, to make do, to do what other people want us to do,” Lotz said. “For me, this is all totally just because I want to because this is cool and I want to do it.”
Because Lotz does not yet have a formal showroom, he is available by appointment only.
“I’m available from 9 in the morning to 8 at night, pretty much seven days a week. People are free to call anytime,” Lotz said.
According to Lotz, TC West Motorsports will be adding to their full line of Coolster ATV machines. In the spring, he will be adding go-carts, dirt-bikes, and other full-sized machines.
“I’ll be expanding. Every month we’ll be adding new stuff,” Lotz said. “We’re all about the toys here.”
To contact Lotz or set up an appointment with TC West Motorsports, call (952) 442-5575 or email email@example.com.
TC West Motorsports is located at 8975 Knox Ave. SW, Howard Lake.