1500 East Innes Street
Salisbury, NC 28146
Don and Robinette Tilley
The 36,000-sq.-ft. Statesville dealership was founded in 1972 and employs 48 people. The 5,000-sq.-ft. Salisbury secondary retail location (SRL) was founded in 1998 and employs 15. “We outgrew this SRL in the first year, so about a year from now we'll move and build a larger dealership,” says Tracy Edwards, Salisbury general manger. “We’re looking forward to that.” Carries Harley-Davidson and Buell at both locations.
“I don’t see sales slowing down,” says Edwards. “I don’t think they ever will, because for people who are into Harley-Davidson, it’s a way of life. At one point in time, all of us dealers have talked about overproduction, but it seems to be working. More younger people are wanting to get into Harleys now.”
Hot models at Tilley’s include the new Screamin’ Eagle, the Fat Boy, and the Heritage Softail. As for accessories, stellar sellers include any type of chrome, aftermarket pipes, and Harley-Davidson’s new heated handgrips.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Although — as Edwards states above — younger customers are flocking to Harleys, “We have a lot of older customers, too, like one gentleman who is famous for putting so many miles on his bike. Another older gentleman who just purchased a bike used to be a racer.” Edwards has been with the dealership for 10 years. “In the 1980s motorcycling had started picking up, then in the 1990s, it really took off. I started out in MotorClothes, which was all black clothing then. Now there’s a wide variety of colors and styles. Many of our customers get the motorcycle fully accessorized when they buy it, and a lot of them finance.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
The Salisbury dealership includes four parts salespeople, while service has four mechanics and a service manager. “Harley-Davidson offers classes throughout the year, and we send the mechanics to keep them updated,” says Edwards. “We also send to classes our F&I person, our salesperson, and myself, as general manager.” The new store will enable Edwards and staff to enlarge the parts and service areas.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
Tilley’s biggest advertising medium is direct mail (postcards), plus advertisements in motorcyclist magazines, on radio stations, and on TV. “The wonderful Salisbury HOG chapter meets here,” notes Edwards.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“If you treat your employees well, it will be reflected in how they give customer service,” says Edwards. “We try to keep everything positive for everybody. I like to get everybody’s opinion.” psb