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Business steady as Platinum Motorsports becomes certified

Platinum Motorsports owner John Schnaidt and office manager Amanda Akovenko stand beside one of many Can-Am Spyders that sit on the floor of their dealership. (Press Photo by Andrew Wernette)

If you have seen an unconventional vehicle zipping around town that can be best described as a motorcycle with two wheels in the front and one in the back, chances are it is a BRP Can-Am Spyder.

And if that is the case, chances are very high that was purchased at Platinum Motorsports, a dealership south of Dickinson that specializes in BRP recreational vehicles.

The business underwent an expansion last year following its certification as a full-fledged dealer of BRP, or Bombardier Recreational Products. Its interior was redesigned into an actual showroom, and is now stocked with Sea-Doo jet skis, Ski-Doo snowmobiles, Can-Am vehicles, body protection wear and displays.

And business has kept steady despite the economic downturn.

“I’d say it’s been still pretty strong,” office manager Amanda Akovenko said.

Akovenko said since many of their customers are farmers and ranchers that use the all-terrain vehicles Platinum sells and maintains, this has equated to a stable income base.

“We’re just excited to bring Bombardier to Dickinson because it’s never been here,” she said.

The business was started as a used dealership for a general array of recreational vehicles in 2012 by John Schnaidt, the owner of Platinum Motorsports. Even back then, he and

Akovenko said the main idea was to begin with the hopes of eventually becoming a certified BRP dealership.

Schnaidt, a Hebron native, said he sold vehicles in Dickinson for at least 15 years before the beginning of Platinum. Akovenko said his experience brought a customer base to the used dealership when it opened.

Schnaidt said the saw the opportunity when his boss at the car dealership retired.

“It’s like, ‘Maybe we should evolve into something else,’” he said. “That’s how it started, and everything after that.”

They immediately applied for the years-long certification process when Platinum opened in 2012. As Akovenko described it, the first year was the application-and-interview process, while the second dealt with the legal and financial work of becoming a dealership.

A common thread that runs among the dealership’s five employees is that they all have spent years riding and enjoying BRP machines. Akovenko and Schnaidt expressed their strong admiration for BRP products, saying that they are well-tested within the company before they are released for sale.

“They are tried and true, for sure,” Akovenko said.

Schnaidt said it’s fun to test out all the new products. He said he goes to the Black Hills with the machines and invites others to come see their performance.

Tom Bloomquist, the parts specialist at Platinum, said he has been riding Ski-Doos since 1988, and has toyed with them in his father’s shop.

He, like the dealership’s two technicians, always do short online trainings from BRP periodically. Many times this occurs Monday, when the dealership is closed to catch up on unfinished business.

Bloomquist said he enjoyed his job, and enjoyed working under Schnaidt and Akovenko.

“They’re really good people to work for,” he said.

The dealership also provides a local spot for customers to service their vehicles. Before it came about, Akovenko said local riders of BRP products had to drive as far as Bismarck to do just that, which could take a day or two out of someone’s plans.

“Now that we have it here and we have our technicians, nobody has to drive anymore,” she said.

Schnaidt said eight to 10 machines a week.

“It’s been pretty good,” he said.

Schnaidt said another reason the business has not been impacted by the economic slowdown was because they were just a used dealership during most of the oil boom, when he said people with money were buying new recreational vehicles elsewhere.

“I think now that we are a (certified BRP) dealer, we’re seeing more and more growth,” he said.

Akovenko said another boon for the business was the recent release of the Can-Am Defender, an all-terrain vehicle that many in the farming and ranching community anticipated.

The one thing that has dropped with the economic climate is the dealership’s U-Haul rental business. Schnaidt said he has difficulty now acquiring moving trucks, whereas before they used to line up all the way to the highway.

Akovenko and Schnaidt said one of the joys of the business now is to see BRP products cruising around in Dickinson.

“It’s kind of neat to know that, that’s a Can-Am and we probably sold that,” she said.

Andrew Wernette

Wernette came to The Dickinson Press from his home state of Michigan in April 2015 as reporter for the newspaper's energy, political, crime, courts and cops beats. Before The Press, Wernette worked at his university's newspaper as a section editor, as well as interned at a local county paper as a reporter. Outside of work, he enjoys reading, writing, cooking, taking a stroll and planning his next world travel adventure.

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