Another acquisition fuels ICON’s continued rise.
Epic. What does it mean? “Grand in scale or character,” “Particularly impressive or remarkable,” “Extending beyond the normal or usual,” are just a few definitions. It’s a pretty high bar to set for yourself. And it’s a pretty high bar to actually reach. But setting high bars, and actually reaching them, is nothing new for the ownership team behind Epic Carts. Epic was acquired last year by ICON. As is already well known, ICON went from a little-known startup to the fourth largest manufacturer of golf cars in the United States, behind E-Z-GO, Club Car and Yamaha, in less than 3 years. ICON’s rise has been well-documented in this publication and others. But like any successful business, product diversification is essential. So last year ICON founders Roy Williams and Terry Trekas went looking for another brand to add to the ICON portfolio.
Sean Heatley founded EPIC almost a decade ago, operating mainly in the Texas market. Heatley owned a retail location, and like many shops across the country he was unable to secure a “Big 3” dealership due to territory restrictions. Heatley realized that the only way to significantly expand his business was to create his own brand and to distribute that brand to other dealers. He experimented with several manufacturers before finally establishing a relationship with a manufacturing partner he felt comfortable with.
“This industry is moving faster than ever before,” he said. “You must be able to keep pace with the technology changes in real time, or you will be left in the dust by your competitors. Having a manufacturing partner that understands this, and can respond accordingly is paramount.”
The manufacturing process, however, is only one piece of the overall puzzle. Innovation, sales, expansion and distribution are equally vital components, and this is where Heatley looked at ICON’s example. “What ICON did in the last 3 or 4 years has been amazing, so of course I was interested to see if possibilities existed to do something together,” Heatley said. He met with ICON CEO Williams and COO Trekas, and soon after a deal was reached for EPIC to become part of the ICON family.
“We had been looking for quite some time for a platform for a premium cart, and Sean proved to be the perfect partner for us,” Williams said.
The first step for Williams, Trekas and Heatley was to determine where EPIC would fit in the retail landscape. Features? Price point? To fleet or not to fleet? They determined that the best fit for EPIC would be as a premium line to supplement the current ICON lineup. This meant revising some existing features and incorporating new ones. The revisions to the EPIC line took roughly six months to envision, strategize and incorporate, and now the new and improved vehicles are rolling off the assembly line.
Every EPIC car comes standard with AGM batteries, 5kw motor, 400/450 amp Curtis controller, high-back diamond stitched seats, 4-wheel disc brakes, 4-wheel independent suspension, sound bar, pre-wired 12v switches and full DOT street legal compliance including a glass windshield, 3-point restraints, side mirrors with LED turn signals, lighted license plate bracket and a back-up camera. All standard equipment on every EPIC. And all at a price point that is still well below the Big 3.
Currently EPIC is assembled and distributed from ICON’s newest production facility in Dallas. Pre-orders are currently being taken for May deliveries. Interested dealers are always welcome to stop by anytime and tour the facility, examine assembly processes, assess QC and discuss pricing and delivery options. Heatley is the operations manager for both the EPIC and ICON production lines at that facility. It is anticipated that with ICON’s continued rise, and with great expectations for the development and expansion of EPIC’s distribution, that an additional Dallas facility will be necessary in the immediate future. And in addition to the EPIC acquisition, rumors abound that ICON is poised to acquire 1 or 2 additional companies, possibly in the maintenance / utility segment.
As he has been in the past, Williams remained coy when asked about this. “We are always looking at ways to improve and expand the ICON brand(s). So yes, at some point there will be more additions to the family,” he said. “But what they will be, or when they will be, well you just have to stay tuned to find that out.”