Courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal – By Will Robinson
Sargent Cycle Products North America, an internationally recognized manufacturer of motorcycle seats and accessories, has completed a more than $1 million expansion of its headquarters in Springfield.
Mark Todd, president of Sargent Cycles, told the Business Journal that he chose to remain in Springfield because of recent growth and development in the area. Todd was born and raised in Jacksonville and inherited part of his family’s business, Sargent Seat Cover Company, which had been in the area since 1935. He founded Sargent Cycle Products as a division of the family business in 1993, and later spun it off as a separate company in 2010.
“It’s [Springfield has] always ebbed and flowed, but I’ve never seen it like this,” said Todd. “We don’t plan on going anywhere, and that solidified when we saw the growth here.”
Sargent Cycle’s new facility features an added warehouse, a manufacturing facility and a more efficient inventory system. The building, designed by Duke Architects and built by Angelo Group, facilitates tours so that visitors can see all parts of the manufacturing process. Sargent Cycle manufactures all of its products from the facility, which are then distributed throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
The company had to expand into more space due to its rapid growth in sales, Todd said. The company sells products to major distributors in addition to motorcycle dealers, after-market parts dealers and directly to customers through its website. The new facility allows Sargent Cycle to better handle its inventory, which Todd hopes will lead to same-day shipping for online orders.
The company’s headquarters will host an open house in March for visitors on their way to Bike Week, an annual event held in Daytona Beach.
“Florida is a great state for bikers,” said Todd, who noted that Bike Week is his company’s biggest event of the year.
Sargent Cycle’s seats are designed for long-term riding, extra support and comfort. Models include heated seating, suspended memory foam, adjustable backrests and more. The company designs four to five new models a year, more if there is a new model of motorcycles.
His company’s niche thrives in part because motorcycle manufacturers don’t invest in comfortable seats, he said.
“It will feel great in the showroom,” he said. “That’s what they care about. It will make the sale.”
Sargent Cycle is rolling out its first seats designed for Harley Davidson motorcycles, a brand it had avoided until now because of more established competitors. Now, it’s proprietary technology in foam suspension and heating technology gives it a competitive edge, Todd said.
“We’re very excited about it,” he said, noting that innovating foam suspension took years.
Sargent Cycle has grown into its right size for the foreseeable future, Todd believes. The focus on for the next few years will be continued growth in sales, especially through its website. For Todd, who also heads research and development, that means creating the next generation of seats and accessories.
“I’ve always liked creating, and selling what I’ve created,” he said.