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‘Taking fun business seriously’ a success

By Kate Swanson

Texas Harley-Davidson opens flagship store

Over the past few years, Adam Smith’s Calculated Risk Group has made news, as it expanded to five Harley-Davidson dealerships within the state of Texas. In 2016, Smith is making headlines again by opening a new facility for his Bedford location and housing the world’s largest Harley-Davidson bar and shield.

Texas Harley-Davidson kicked off the grand opening of its 72,000-square-foot dealership with a three-day weekend celebration in April. Neil Noble, Texas Harley’s general manager and partner, said the celebration could not have gone any better. While the original setup for the grand opening was to take advantage of the new parking lot with a stage and tents, inclement weather forced the event to move inside.

The team took advantage of its facility, setting up underneath the overhang of the building without the need for tents and using the lot for parking. The event itself had great attendance, as Noble said about 250 people showed up. “It was a combination of folks in the community — city office members, first responders, police department, fire department, and we had several members of veterans groups,” he said.

The chain cutting ceremony, held in lieu of the traditional ribbon cutting, included presentations from the Keller Independent School District’s Air Force Junior ROTC and Keller Central High School’s drumline. A few animals from the Bedford Animal Services also attended, wearing the latest Harley-Davidson fashion. Throughout the weekend, the dealership hosted live bands, including Memphis Soul and Grady Spence and The Work. Saturday night’s festivities concluded with a fireworks show put on by the same company that is in charge of Bedford’s Fourth of July fireworks display.

Due to poor weather, a chain cutting took place indoors in place of a traditional ribbon cutting.

Due to poor weather, a chain cutting took place indoors in place of a traditional ribbon cutting.

“The fireworks show was incredible,” Noble said. “The mayor of our city was sitting with us, and he said, ‘You guys have put some pressure on us; we’re going to have to up our game on the Fourth of July!’”

The new store is just across the street — about 200 yards — from the old building and located at 1921 Shoalmont Road in Bedford, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

“We were bursting at the seams; our showroom and our service department were in two different buildings,” Noble said. “As we grow and have multiple locations, anything that we have centralized is out of the Bedford store, so we need more room for that. Frankly, we’re in a really nice part of town and community — this area deserves a top-notch facility.”

Texas Harley-Davidson’s Bar and Shield Award status has placed the dealership among the top 10 Harley-Davidson dealerships nationwide for the past two years. Noble says his team’s focus on service and customer care has kept the dealership on top.

“We make sure that we care about the team, the customer; we care about the brand, and we make sure that everything we do in the store exudes that,” he said.

Texas Harley-Davidson celebrated its grand opening with several city officials including (from left): Hurst-Euless-Bedford Chamber of Commerce Board chair elect Steve Farco; Bedford mayor Jim Griffin; Texas Harley-Davidson owner Adam Smith; Texas Harley-Davidson GM and partner Neil Noble; and managing director of Harley-Davidson North America Christian Walters.

Texas Harley-Davidson celebrated its grand opening with several city officials including (from left): Hurst-Euless-Bedford Chamber of Commerce Board chair elect Steve Farco; Bedford mayor Jim Griffin; Texas Harley-Davidson owner Adam Smith; Texas Harley-Davidson GM and partner Neil Noble; and managing director of Harley-Davidson North America Christian Walters.

Within the five dealerships, an internal competition also helps motivate the team. All of the general managers have a sales goal, and if a store misses its goal, the general manager must drive a smart car for the month. If every store hits their goal, Adam Smith, Jason Bremer or Neil Noble has to drive the smart car. “Each of the three of us has spent at least two months in the smart car,” Noble offered.

Texas Harley-Davidson’s unique features include a ride-in service department, an outdoor covered area for hosting events and an interactive parts bar. Instead of a traditional setup, customers are not separated from team members by a counter; they work alongside the employees on their bikes.

“To my knowledge, we’re the first dealer to install one. It’s a really cool looking feature. You get this feeling of working with someone rather than across the counter from somebody — it’s just a more welcoming, collaborative environment,” Noble added.

The interactive parts bar has received positive feedback from customers and staff alike. “Folks on the parts team who come to visit to train in the store, they’re all jealous of our parts bar, so in future buildings it’ll be a feature that we use,” Noble said.

Once customers commit to buying a bike, they become a permanent part of the building. The dealership features a large brick wall with six black panels under the team’s slogan “You’ll Never Ride Alone.” One panel, permanently affixed on the front wall, proudly displays the names of the Texas Harley staff members on the day the store opened.

Texas Harley-Davidson owner Adam Smith high fives team members at the store’s grand opening.

Texas Harley-Davidson owner Adam Smith high fives team members at the store’s grand opening.

“These panels have spots where everyone that buys a bike gets a chance to sign their name. It has been a hit for both our team and our customers,” Noble said. “It’s a neat way for customers to be a part of something.” Once the wall is completely full, the signatures of those who have purchased bikes will be moved to the second showroom, always a part of the building.

“The new flagship is ‘home’ for our Texas Harley-Davidson family,” said owner Adam Smith in a press release. “This new store gives us room to showcase our extensive collection of bikes and gear, but also gives us room to grow our family of riders and team members. Our riders come back week after week for the Texas Harley-Davidson lifestyle of organized weekly rides, events like bike nights and to hang out in our two customer lounges. Our growth and success are a result of our team and our riders, and the experience they give and get!”

It was important to the Texas Harley-Davidson family that the majority of the companies engaged in the new dealership process were local, from the architect and general contractor to its uniform provider. “We chose as many local materials and design elements as we could,” Noble said. “We’re a part of this community, and we want to make sure that we’re keeping the money here. It’s a fantastic area, and we like being the biggest contributor we can be because we know that money helps to keep the local economy thriving.”

Once fully staffed, Texas Harley-Davidson will employ 100. The new store helps illustrate one of the group’s core beliefs, “Take fun business seriously.”

“That’s the reason why we ride — there’s no better feeling. ‘Fun’ is important, so we built a facility that can host large events, community events and rides. When you walk in, you can feel it in the atmosphere,” Noble said. “The other piece is that we take the business seriously. It’s a great facility; it’s laid out for business; it’s easy to shop, and it’s very consumer-friendly.”

 

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