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Making dealership dreams a reality

By Kate Swanson

First-time owner purchases Harley-Davidson store

Since getting his start the industry in 1995, Trevor Bird has looked forward to the day when he can call a dealership his own. 

Bird’s history in the powersports industry began when he and his best friend Rugger Gottsacker graduated from Texas Christian University and then worked for Rugger’s father Hal Gottsacker, who owned Alamo City Harley-Davidson. Bird and Rugger started Alamo City Promotions, a motorsports marketing company, which raised sponsorships for the Gottsackers’ race team. 

In 2002, Bird’s first job at the dealership was to facilitate its Harley-Davidson authorized rental program. In 2008, Bird became general manager, and in 2014, he became partner of Gruene Harley-Davidson and Javelina Harley-Davidson in Texas. 

When he learned that Durango Harley-Davidson, of Durango, Colorado, was available, Bird said the opportunity felt like the right choice for him, his wife and two children. “We’ve been coming up to Colorado since I was young. When I found out that Durango Harley-Davidson was on the market, it was really appealing,” said Bird. “It sounded like a great opportunity and a great community to raise our family.”

This picture was taken outside Durango Harley-Davidson before a ride to the Bottom Shelf Brewery in Bayfield, Colorado, the Bird family’s first dealer-led ride as new owners. Photo courtesy of Durango Harley-Davidson

Bird, his wife Catie and their two children, moved to Colorado and took over ownership of the dealership in late June. “The transition has exceeded all expectations. I think I’m most grateful for the staff that I have here, the team that worked for the Murrays that owned the dealership previously; it’s just first-class across the board. It’s just a great time, great customers and great riding.”

One of Bird’s first owner-led rides took place in July, when he and a group of riders traveled part of The Million Dollar Highway, the Red Mountain Pass, which runs from Ouray to Silverton, Colorado. “The ride around the loop was probably one of the most exhilarating,
jaw-dropping motorcycle rides I’ve ever been on. I understand why everybody wants a T-shirt at the end of the ride.”

Due to financial issues, the annual Four Corners Motorcycle Rally in Durango had to be canceled this year, but Bird and the Durango Harley-Davidson team stepped up to plan The Durango Rally at Four Corners. The event was held on Labor Day weekend and included 2018 Harley-Davidson demo rides, live music, vendors, beer sales to benefit “Building Home for Heroes” organization and poker chip runs.

“One thing we really looked forward to is showing that Labor Day weekend in and around Durango is still a very desirable place for people to come and ride motorcycles and that there are still a lot of really cool, fun events for them to be a part of,” said Bird.

With the first six months of ownership under his belt, Bird has big plans in store for the dealership in the months to come. The dealership is talking with EagleRider to become a rental location, and Bird intends to start up a Harley-Davidson Rider Academy program as well.

“I really want to stand up the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy program, so we can have the opportunity to teach the next generation of riders,” he said. “Both of our Texas dealerships are really big into the Rider’s Academy program and have had a lot of success with them, so we look forward to taking what we’ve learned over the last 10 years in Texas and applying it here.”

When it comes to advice for dealers, Bird said to surround yourself with good people who believe in you, like Rugger and Hal Gottsacker. “I was so lucky to have Hal as a dad and Rugger his son as my best friend. Two guys who believed in me. … I’m just really grateful for the opportunities that the Gottsackers and the Harley-Davidson Motor Company have given us,” he said. “My biggest words of advice would be never give up, have faith and be courageous and strong. Four years ago I never would have dreamed I could say I own a Harley-Davidson franchise. Today, I can say that, and it’s pretty awesome.” 

 

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