Sure, leaning on a scooter throttle might lack the punch of a Harley-Davidson. But thats just fine for a growing number of Boise riders looking to cut spending at the fuel pump.
Enter Scooters of Boise, which has been selling scooters since 2004, before the nation developed its appetite for fuel efficiency.
Co-owners Kathy Navin and Kitty Smith were looking to start a side business at that time. Smith had worked as office manager at Navins computer consulting business, which was then called Navin Consulting and is now AMI Technologies Inc. The women were interested in buying scooters for getting around Boise. They found Boise was short on scooter options and decided to start a business to rectify the problem.
Today, Scooters of Boise has four employees at 108 N. Curtis Road. Navin and Smith sell four brands of scooters, as well as childrens ATVs, Strider balance bikes and accessories.
The scooters average between 70 and 130 miles per gallon. Prices range from $2,000 to $4,000. The best-selling model, the Genuine Buddy 125, sells for $2,999 and gets about 90 mpg.
Navin and Smith say the business is profitable. Smith answered questions for Business Insider.
Q: What type of people make up your customer base?
A: Unique and smart people. They range from 20 to 75 years old, the average being 35 to 40. We are seeing scooters as the new second car.
Q: What factors make Boise well- or ill-suited for scooter driving?
A: You can get anywhere in Boise on a scooter without driving on the Connector. The layout for our city streets and surrounding area is perfect for two wheels.
We and many of our customers travel to Nampa, Caldwell and farther on the back roads with no problems, and the view is great. Scooters are fast enough to travel with most traffic.
Q: Do you ride a scooter?
A: Of course. In 2013 I rode a WYM RV200 when weather permitted. The older I get, the less I like the cold. In past years, I rode a different model every year. Kathy rides different scooters all the time to test them out.
Q: Whats the most fun part of the job?
A: It sounds corny, but we still get goose bumps when someone buys their first scooter.
Q: Whats the least fun part of the job?
A: Test rides. Some people dont realize the speed and power scooters have and that you need an M motorcycle endorsement on your drivers license. They arent hard to get.
Q: Whats your favorite scooter accessory or modification?
A: The best accessory is a sidecar for a Genuine Stella scooter, but it only fits on a Stella.
There are some beautiful vintage scooters that local enthusiasts have renovated and a modern scooter that was wrapped in camouflage duct tape.
Q: I want to hear your best scooter story. Go.
A: Once I went to WinCo, forgot I was riding my scooter and bought a bunch of groceries. I drew a crowd watching me get every item from my overflowing cart stored. Fortunately I had a Stella with a sidecar.
Zach Kyle: 377-6464Twitter: @IDS_zachkyle