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More than a T-shirt shop

By Dave McMahon

Tourists drawn to new Tombstone H-D store

Technically, Tombstone Harley-Davidson is known as an alternative retail outlet.

Call it what you want, but the new T-shirt shop in Tombstone, Ariz., is also a revenue stream. Bill Nash, the COO of RideNow Powersports, includes Harley-Davidson of Tucson among the portfolio of dealerships. It was his familiarity with the Harley riders of Arizona, however, that convinced him to add the Tombstone “T-shirt store” to his portfolio.

The cash register at the the 900 square-foot lease on the main drag of Allen Street in the “The Town That Never Dies” started chiming as soon as the doors unlocked in September.

Tombstone Harley-Davidson chalked up $62,000 in sales in its first month.

“About 600,000 people a year go through the town,” Nash said. “If you sell 5 percent of them a T-shirt, that’s 30,000 shirts. In the first month, we did $62,000 in business.”

For Helldorado Days, a summer festival and an institution in the town since 1929, Tombstone H-D was able to get the street closed, with bikes lined up and down the sides and in the thoroughfare.

“There are only two blocks in town, so you have to walk right past us on the way to the gunfights,” Nash said, referring to the tourist attractions and the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

The Tombstone store is a property of Tucson H-D, but the shirts are available exclusively in Tombstone. Shops in the Arizona towns of Prescott and Sedona have similar arrangements. And there’s a market for the taking, as the T-shirts start in price at about $30, all with custom shirt backs.

“About 75 percent of the tourists that go through Tombstone are European — German particularly,” Nash said.

A ride promotion among the Harley-Davidson stores in Tucson, Sierra Vista and Tombstone allows riders to collect pins at each stop, and show them at the end to be eligible for a special three-shirt package.

“For our grand opening ride the first weekend of October, we went from Tucson to Sierra then Tombstone, and we ended up with 300 riders,” Nash said. “People were complaining that their saddlebags were too full by the time they left Sierra Vista to go to Tombstone.”

And that was a sign of things to come.

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