Doing it their way
Resciniti family unveils mammoth 2-story showroom at Motorcycle Mall in N.J.
At a time when many dealerships have “high-sided” into oblivion, it’s the rare business that has not only survived the economic downturn, but also managed to grow.
The Motorcycle Mall — a Belleville, N.J., institution for 35 years and counting — is a dealership that’s currently riding “on the pipe.”
Proof of this comes in the form of a new, mind-boggling, 108,000-square-foot mega-showroom, but it can also be detected in the tenacity and solid business sense of its owners — three generations of the Resciniti family (John Sr., John Jr. and John III), who have managed to peg the sales rev-limiter while keeping their integrity in check.
Founded as an all-brand motorcycle repair shop that also sold Indian dirt bikes, John Sr. and his son opened Newark Motorcycles on Halsey Street in Newark, N.J., in 1974. But the moto-gods hurled curveballs at the duo from the start.
“We were broken into and robbed so many times,” noted John Jr. “In fact, they [the burglars] cleared the whole shop out one time! So my dad saw an ad that Honda was running to open up dealerships, and the rest is history.”
In 1977, the family’s spanking-new operation — Belleville-Newark Honda — opened at 165 Washington Ave., just a few miles north of the old Newark shop. The company’s name and its featured marquees would change a few times over the years until more magic took hold and the multi-brand outlet became The Motorcycle Mall in 1985.
“Honda was dominating the market at that time,” explained John Jr. “We were selling Hondas like hotcakes. Those were very good years.”
But boom times can be fickle, as the Resciniti clan would soon see. The import tariffs of the late 1980s killed Honda’s boom years and many dealerships closed their doors.
“A lot of dealers folded because they were caught in high rent situations,” said John Jr. “We owned our building, and we adjusted our rents to offset that.”
Another dynamic played an even greater role in keeping their dealership healthy and vital, according to the trio.
“It’s the philosophy my father taught me,” John Jr. explained with great conviction. “If a customer makes an effort to get to your store, no matter what time it is, you make an effort to wait on them. You don’t have to apologize to anyone for making a profit; but you always make a fair profit without beating anyone over the head.”
Since then, the dealership has grown in leaps and bounds to include 14 brands (Aprilia, Can-Am, Honda, Kawasaki, KYMCO, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, Polaris, Sea-Doo, Ski-Doo, Suzuki, Vespa, Victory and Yamaha) and has become the go-to location for motorcyclists in the densely populated greater Newark area.
But the winds of change were blowing. The once-large building at 165 Washington Ave. was bursting at its seams to contain The Motorcycle Mall’s huge inventory. There was only one answer.
On April 21, the newest incarnation of The Motorcycle Mall opened for business at 655 Washington Ave. in Belleville. With two hangar-sized levels displaying shiny-new units to full advantage, a cavernous room dedicated to accessories, and a generous service bay, the dealership is a sight to behold. Ample parking and a prime location just one mile north of its former home come as icing on the cake. But this “destination dealership” still embraces the values that have seen it through thick and thin.
“Every customer that comes through that door pays everyone’s paycheck at the dealership,” explained John III, the third-generation Resciniti who will eventually be at the helm of the ultra-popular dealership. “They deserve to be treated with as much courtesy and respect as anyone.”