Wineries and breweries may be the first thing that comes to mind for Yakima Valley tourism businesses, but there is another one that is gaining ground, as well as driving sales at a Union Gap business.
Alex Ochoa is the sales specialist for Fueled UTV, a growing company that moved to its new headquarters off the streets of Ahtanum and Goodman about six months ago. Previously located on Fruitvale Boulevard, Fueled UTV is located at 2751 Goodman Road in Unit 201, in a new building just north of a FedEx facility.
UTVs are off-road utility vehicles, a car that is larger than an ATV and that it handles more like a car. Also known as side-by-sides, UTV sales have a projected compound annual growth rate of 6.85% through 2028, according to the businesswire website.
Ochoa, a 36-year-old Selah native who lives there with his wife and children, said Fueled UTV is ready for the surge with parts and customer services in downtown Washington and beyond.
“We are here for families who like to ride, who like to be out there and ride together. Just like my family traveling together and all the employees here, “Ochoa said.” We have 15 employees. We have a service area for customer constructions, oil changes, everything. And we booked with two months. in advance “.
Ochoa – who said his favorite ride is the trails in Ahtanum State Forest, with their “amazing” views of Mount Rainier – recently responded to Five Questions with the Yakima Herald-Republic.
What led you to work at Fueled UTV?
I am responsible for Northwest Sales of Fueled UTV. I’ve been doing side by side for six, seven years. I owned and guided them. I am part of a large group called Northwest UTV riders on Facebook. They have been there for about six years. This kind of led me to this position. By that I mean the owners of this group jumped on that page, they got to know me from there. When they needed to grow, they contacted me and interviewed me, and it all worked together.
I am connected to the community. It is a perfect place for me: many people know me. Powered UTV is made up of three gentlemen: Travis Staley, Jake Wilcox and Mark Strutner. These are the three owners of this business. They are all here in Yakima Valley.
What services and products do you offer?
Anything from A to Z for UTV, aka side by side. Anything: wheels, tires, suspension, engines, performance, safety. Everything from A to Z plus the machine itself. Not yet.
We have a lot of local customers and a lot of customers passing through to go camping from out of town. Many people from a higher state – Idaho and Oregon – come to check on us, because we have so much inventory. Inventory is key in this business and we have it.
What are some of the most popular items you sell?
Wheels and tires are our number 1 thing. Right behind are the changes in performance and safety. Better restraints, better seats to be (buckled) tighter. I do this all day and absolutely love it.
People come and say, ‘My car came with 14’ ‘wheels and 29’ ‘tires, they are too small. I find myself wedged in 2 inches of snow. ‘ OK, we’ll push you up to 32 inches … it goes on from there. “What do I need next, what do I need next?”
Did I hear that Polaris recently shot a video with some of your equipment?
Correct. Polaris has a show called “Destination Polaris”. And they show riding areas across the United States with different groups. One of our battery reps contacted us and said Polaris is interested in taking a ride with me and I invite you guys, bring your cars to the shop.
We didn’t know what to expect. They shot it in Priest Lake, Idaho. It was amazing. It went so well that we will do another video with Destination Polaris here locally. Very nice to be on TV and try it out. UTVs are best sellers (Polaris’) now: they are called razors, they are spelled “RZR”.
Where are some of the places people like to go horseback riding locally?
Rimrock. Tampico, aka Ahtanum State Forest. Small Nache. Manastash crest. Juniper dunes in Pasco. Dunes of the lakes of Moses. Freedom. Whiskey Dick (Wildlife Area)… I could go on forever.
It is a fast growing sector (in Yakima Valley). The views on some of our trails are incredible. People travel far and wide to come and see these sights.
It’s almost overwhelming how popular this thing has become. Quickly, in the past five years, it has been exploding. Which is part of our success.