- Associated Press - Saturday, June 6, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The owners of Charleston’s newest motorsports store saw an open road - or more like an open trail - for another power sports business in town.

Hidden Trails Motorsports, located on the corner of Morris and Smith streets near Appalachian Power Park, sells everything related to power sports and racing, from street bikes to four-wheelers to personal watercrafts. It opened its doors on May 16.

Trey Frame runs the store with his two brothers, Stephen and Cameron, along with their close friend, Shawne Monk. The four, who all share the title of general manager, grew up together and remained best friends over the years.

Frame grew up working on motorcycles and personal watercraft with his father, who got him into the sport of racing when he was 11 years old.

They opened their first store in Shrewsbury in eastern Kanawha County in 2013, but the location has a “niche market,” according to Frame.

He saw a need for a Charleston locale when people would come up to him at events and say they had been meaning to go to his store in Shrewsbury but just weren’t sure where his shop was located, or they didn’t want to travel outside Charleston.

Frame, who also owns Daniel’s Electric, a contracting business, had extra space in his shop and thought it would be perfect for selling sporting vehicles.

Frame got the inspiration for the store layout after visiting an REI store in Charlotte.

The most popular vehicles are UTVs or “side-by-sides,” similar to ATVs but with dune buggy or SUV-inspired body styling.

“To put it in perspective, West Virginia sells more side-by-sides than any other state in the U.S. except for Texas and we’re just a fraction of the size,” Frame said.

He credits the mountain terrain and the Hatfield and McCoy trail system for the industry’s success in West Virginia.

Frame said Hidden Trails focuses on customer service and while most store mechanics will specialize only in what they sell, his mechanics can do it all.

“Our mechanics are versatile and have been trained on all major manufacturers,” he said.

While watercraft have been their biggest seller so far at the Charleston location, Monk said he expects more side-by-sides to sell.

“It’s the way of the future as far as off-road goes,” he said.

Monk encourages consumers to educate themselves either through research or by speaking with the employees at Hidden Trails before making a purchase.

“Be safe. Research what you want to buy,” Monk said. “Come talk to us, we won’t pressure you to buy anything. Be careful and have fun - that’s what it’s all about.”

Monk said his favorite aspect of the store is its trendiness. He said the showroom isn’t rough-looking on the inside like other power sports shops and that it even sells apparel.

The brothers also helped bring the National Championship Jet Ski race to Charleston as part of SportsFEST at Magic Island. This year’s SportsFEST will be Aug. 15 to 16.

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Information from: Charleston Daily Mail, https://www.charlestondailymail.com

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