National Powersport Auctions expanding to Florida with live auction site in Lakeland
By J. Kyle Foster
Aug 28, 2020 at 3:03 PM
National Powersport Auctions (NPA) is expanding its live auction vehicle business to Florida, where the company is leasing space in Hillsborough County first with plans to build on 45 acres in Polk County over the next year and a half.
NPA, the world’s largest provider of powersport vehicle remarketing services, will enter the Florida market with leased property in Plant City but plans a permanent home about six miles away in Polk County on the I-4 frontage road, across from Lakeland’s Interstate Commerce Park.
“It has been on our radar to get a location in Florida for a few years now,” NPA marketing director Mandie Fonteyn-Albert told GrowthSpotter. “The goal is to make this one of our premier locations.”
Lakeland will be NPA’s ninth live auction site, adding to its list of cities including Atlanta; Dallas; Philadelphia; Madison, WI; San Diego; Cincinnati; and Sacramento, CA. The auction sites hold at least one live auction a month with larger locations including Atlanta and Dallas holding two, Fonteyn-Albert said.
San Diego-based NPA is leasing an 86,000-square foot building in Plant City that is currently being remodeled in order to start auctioning marine, RV and light construction vehicles on the property in the next two months, Fonteyn-Albert said. NPA handles all motorsport vehicles except cars, she said. The Plant City site will be used to establish the company in Florida while the Lakeland location is built, Fonteyn-Albert said.
NPA is the contract purchaser for the 45 acres owned by Central Florida Development. NPA plans to construct a 140,000 square foot building with 129 parking spaces on its Lakeland property. Permits could be in place by October, Everett Morrow ofTampa-based Landmark Engineering told GrowthSpotter.
Florida provides NPA the opportunity to expand its marine and RV business, Fonteyn-Albert said. Lakeland will take over one of Atlanta’s monthly auctions, she said.
Nationally, RV shipments in July were the highest in four decades, according to an RV Industry Association report. The association’s monthly survey of manufacturers found that total RV shipments ended the month with 43,035 units, an increase of 53.5% from the 28,044 units shipped in July 2019.
Boat sales are up as well. In May and June, 115,000 new power boats were sold - a 30% increase over the same time period last year - with personal watercraft, saltwater fishing boats and jet boats driving growth, according to National Marine Manufacturing Association. The latest data show 2020 cumulative sales of personal watercraft up 10%; saltwater fishing boat sales up 5%; and jet boats up 9% compared to a year ago.
“Florida just in general has a ton of powersports dealers. … it’s just a big market” Fonteyn-Albert said. And the Lakeland property near the interstate and between Tampa and Florida - is just what NPA was looking for. “Our operations team looked at a lot of land and this was the one.”
Nationwide, there are 10,000 powersports dealers; NPA does business with 80% of them, Fonteyn-Albert said.
NPA, owned by Dallas-based Copart Inc., serves dealers with their auctions. Pre-Covid-19, dealers would visit the auction sites in person for preview day and then return the following day for the live auction. Preview days have reopened, Fonteyn-Albert said, but the live auctions are conducted online. NPA’s larger venues see 500 to 700 units at an auction, she said. Small venues see about 150-300 units.
Copart’s online vehicle auctions link sellers to more than 750,000 members in more than 170 countries.
Once construction begins in Lakeland, it should take six to eight months, Morrow said. Building will take place on the south side of the property, which was graded in 2009 for a warehouse building, he said. The north side of the property purchased from surplus Polk County-owned land that had been used for a sewage plant. It will now be a storage area and stormwater pond, Morrow said.
For now, Fonteyn-Albert said, “our focus is setting up and running out there (in Plant City). “We can make our presence known, get the dealer base out there.”