BY: SCOTT AUSTIN, CIC, FA PEABODY INSURANCE
Elwood Tidd had been operating his own contracting business for several years when he was first introduced to snowmobiles. Both he and his wife, Dinah, had always loved speed; therefore, it was only natural that having raced stock cars in the summer months, they would quickly become avid snowmobile enthusiasts and soon begin racing them as a hobby. That passion for snowmobile racing led them to start a Sno-Jet franchise, then a popular brand of snowmobile in the 60’s and 70’s, from the basement of their home in 1972. From that point on, the rest is history.
Sales steadily rose as they continued to build a solid customer base. With the growth of the business came increased responsibilities and increased inventories to handle their ever growing number of products and franchises. The explosive growth required a new building including more showroom space and better repair facilities. Using their contracting skills and the family’s willing labor, Elwood and Dinah built a new facility on the property adjacent to their home in 1977. This facility continues today as Tidd’s Sport Shop.
Over the years, Tidd’s have added many of the top names in outdoor motor sports to their list of franchises, including; Ski-Doo, Can-Am, Polaris Ranger ATV’s and Snowmobiles, and Honda ATV’s to their list of offerings. Though initially started as a snowmobile dealer only, today Tidd’s sell and service ATV’s, UTV’s, snowmobiles and motorcycles with approximately 60% of their sales stemming from ATVs and side by sides due to customer demand.
Their goal has always been, and will always be, to provide high quality service. In fact, from the start, Elwood and Dinah were known for their willingness to get snowmobilers, suffering breakdowns, back on the trail regardless of the time of day or day of the week. That commitment to service has led to the formation of a strong repeat customer base which continues to grow year after year and has been passed down to their children. The business has stayed within the family. Elwood still oversees the entire operation while Ricky, Elwood and Dinah’s son, manages the service department and its two other employees Kyle and Matt, the Tidd’s grandson. Their daughter, Debby, manages both the sales and parts department while Ricky’s wife, Sandy, works in the office, keeping everything organized and running smoothly. Ricky also serves as a licensed State of Maine safety coordinator teaching and overseeing courses in ATV safety and hunting safety among several others.
Tidd’s strong focus on customer service was recently recognized by the Maine Snowmobile Association in 2012 when Tidd’s Sport Shop was named Snowmobile Dealer of the year for the State of Maine. Also, being a family owned local business, they maintain an active role in the community. In 2011, Tidd’s, in conjunction with Polaris Corporation, donated a Polaris Ranger to the Make-A- Wish foundation.
Though Sno-Jet snowmobiles, their original franchise, have long since gone, Tidd’s has continued to flourish by adapting to customers ever changing needs. Whether it’s repairs, new or used equipment, trail information, or simply someone to speak with, Tidd’s is revved and ready.
Scott Austin works in Property and Casualty Sales at F. A. Peabody and is the Agent for Tidd’s Sport Shop.