Power 50 application ready for download

We’ve just closed the books on the 2013 Power 50 dealer awards program, but it’s already time to start looking ahead to the 2014 Power 50 Awards Dinner in Orlando.

We continue to get feedback from dealers who saw coverage of the Awards Dinner held during AIMExpo in Orlando this past October. The first question, of course, is how can my dealership be considered?

If you want to be considered by the PSB editors as a Power 50 dealer for 2014, download the application at In addition to asking you to provide detailed insight into how you operate your business, we also require sales data from 2013. It’s the most effective way to compare your store to others like it.

Several dealership principals and employees who joined us in Orlando for the Power 50 Awards Dinner remarked that the application process itself serves as an educational tool for each department at their store. Some questions ask simply to supply data pieces from 2013, while others ask how and why you do things the way you do. In essence, it can serve as way to reflect on the year that was, and a look ahead to uncover ways that you might improve your dealership’s business approach.

Distributors and aftermarket manufacturers, along with service providers, trainers and other industry folks, can get in on the Power 50 selection as well. Simply nominate a dealership — the one that you can’t rave about enough due to the exceptional retail experience they create for their customers. Send a note to me at, and I’ll personally send the dealership a link to the application. Of course, I’ll let them know that they’ve been nominated by one of their industry partners.

I’m already looking forward to taking a deep dive into the completed applications later this summer, as we use the program to help build industry confidence by showcasing those who do it best. I’m also looking forward to taking a deep dive into a lake off the back end of a PWC later this summer, but the Polar Vortex proved quite the distraction for those ideas.

Cincy always a worthy trip

It’s ohsoclose to V-Twin Expo time in Cincinnati, and that means catching up on the latest that segment of the industry has to offer. Elsewhere in this edition, you can read my story on why dealership operators large and small continue to flock to Cincy in February. No weather complaints, just entrepreneurs whom I admire ready to pounce on the latest products that can help them grow in 2014.

I like to grab lunch a few times a year with V-Twin Expo show manager Jim Betlach to here where that segment of the industry is headed. And in addition to Cincy looking up in 2014 in terms of dealer attendees, Betlach told me on the shores of frozen Lake Minnetonka last month that Bike Week in Daytona is on a similar upward trajectory with exhibitor interest.

Service department open house gets high marks

“Great event!! I loved it!! I hope you guys do this more often, and get more vendors in! Probably the best event I’ve attended at SPHD!”

“When will you have another service event? It was difficult seeing it all in 1 day! The event was fantastic! Thank you SPHD:)”

The “event” was the second annual Backstage Pass to Service at St. Paul Harley-Davidson in January, and, this year, a concurrent event was held on the other side of the Twin Cities at its sister store, Wild Prairie Harley-Davidson.

Jeremy Gilbert, sales manager at S&S Cycle, listens to a customer at the Backstage Pass to Service event at St. Paul Harley-Davidson.
Jeremy Gilbert, sales manager at S&S Cycle, listens to a customer at the Backstage Pass to Service event at St. Paul Harley-Davidson.

Jeremy Gilbert, sales manager of S&S Cycle of Viola, Wis., made the trek to the event in St. Paul for the second year in a row, at the request of Brent Godwin, service manager of St. Paul Harley-Davidson. Gilbert recognized the event’s benefits last year, and doubled the S&S presence in 2014.


“I brought a member of our sales staff who normally takes orders over the phone, but this is a great opportunity for her to meet customers and meet the retail public as well,” Gilbert said.

The event, held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., allowed customers to wander the service stations at their leisure to visit with technicians. Among the projects were paintless dent repair techniques, paint protection film installation, clear coat repair techniques, diagnostic procedures, battery testing procedures and tuning tools and techniques. In-process customization jobs also were on display.

Amidst the work being done on the bikes, a host of vendors set up tabletop booths alongside S&S, including Drag Specialties, Heat Demon and Goodyear Dunlop Tires. Biker’s Choice set up shop at Wild Prairie, with other exhaust and protection brands.

“We’re there to support the dealer and show the customers some of the products that they can purchase through that dealer,” Gilbert said. “It’s a great event. It’s nice to see the dealerships that are proactive in reaching out to their customers. We also help them reach out through our media channels. And I like being able to interact with the dealership’s mechanics and service writers and answer their questions, as well as teach them how to sell our product, and product in general.”

It’s another way for dealers to put their relationship with their business partners into action.


Wildhorse Harley-Davidson in Bend, Ore., set a sales record with more than 200 motorcycles sold in 2013. Closer to home in Minnesota, Sportech, a manufacturer of thermoform plastics for powersports OEMs, added 82 employees in 2013. And congrats to Rick and DeVonne Bowman, who are retiring after 30 years of ownership at Metro Harley-Davidson in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Dave McMahon is editor in chief of Powersports Business. Contact him at 763/383-4411 or


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