“The more the merrier,” Michele Turk says about attendees to Stars and Stripes Harley-Davidson’s events. Along with customers and riders, Turk encourages the attendance of non-riders and families to the dealership’s almost weekly events throughout the year.
When non-riders walk through the dealership’s doors and into a family-friendly environment, Turk hopes they will feel welcomed into the industry. “We want to bring people in and show them exactly what goes on with bikers and Harley-Davidson dealerships,” she says. “I think bikers have gotten a bad stigma throughout the years, but we’re about community, family, raising money for charities and we work with kids. That’s what our dealership is about.”
The Bucks County, Pennsylvania, dealership hosts around 50−60 events a year, and Turk coordinates them all. “I love it,” she says. “It really is a great way to bring the community together and that’s what we’ve been doing here. We’ve really been gearing towards the community and building something very family oriented and fun. We bring people out from all walks of life.”
And hosting events causes a snowball effect. Exposure to the Harley-Davidson culture, or just the purchase of the company’s apparel, may encourage new riders, according to Turk. “Maybe they’re not a rider, but then they see how cool the clothing is. Maybe they will buy something Harley and it starts there. Then they may want to learn how to ride.”
She started at the dealership in 2021 and became event coordinator in August 2022. Stepping into a position that she was familiar with and passionate about, her focus was immediately on incorporating services from local businesses into the dealership’s events.
“We’re tagging each other on social media now and working together and networking to make it a big community thing,” she says. Instead of hiring corporations, she works with local mom-and-pop pizza shops, wedding venues and bakeries to create community engaged events.
Although Turk is a one-woman-show in the marketing department, all employees are hands-on before, during and after events. “As far as pulling it off, we work as a team here at our dealership,” she says.
Almost every weekend, the dealership hosts an event. When speaking with Turk, she was preparing for the upcoming weekend that was booked with three events and eight upcoming bike nights.
Harley-Davidson 120th Season Opener
Most Harley-Davidson dealerships participated in the 120th Season Opener and celebrated in different ways. Stars and Stripes Harley-Davidson went all out. The season opener weekend event took place Saturday and Sunday, March 25−26, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event filled the dealership’s overflow parking lot.
The first 120 adults to attend received free stickers, bags, cozies and keychains with the 120th Season Opener logo. Free food and drinks were provided, and kids were entertained by a local magician, balloon artist and facepainting.
“Nothing makes me happier than seeing families with their children having fun and enjoying the special events we have,” says Mike Sarullo, general manager. “The smile on their faces proves to me I have the best staff, customers and company that provides us the opportunity to give back to our community. We could not successfully represent Harley-Davidson without each and every one of them.”
An in-store tour pass activity made for an interactive afternoon. Stations were set up throughout the dealership and as attendees visited each station, they completed a task. One station required participants to take a photo with a Harley Angel (HarleyDavidson’s event promo team) on a 2023 motorcycle and post it on their social media. Another station asked players to sign the 120th anniversary banner.
“So much was going on, it was so much fun,” Turk says. The local Piazza’s Bakery made a cake with the anniversary logo and other local businesses contributed.
Turk owned an Italian specialties business, Coocoo4 Cookalas and a catering business before joining the Stars and Stripes team. “I’m a crazy detail-oriented person,” she says. “I’m just all about people and marketing and I network with everyone.”
As a Harley rider, she is all about the Harley-Davidson culture, too. She started at the dealership as a part time Harley Angel in 2021. She helped plan events and was offered a receptionist position in the service department. Then she took on the role of service advisor, then service coordinator and now enjoys her current position as event coordinator.
The dealership receives plenty of inventory and bike sales are going well. “Bikes are being unloaded from the truck and sold before they hit the dealership,” Turk says. “We create a lot of hype with delivery day. It’s not like we’re stocked up on bikes and not selling them. They’re moving out. It’s a constant flow.” The dealership is stocked with over 225 motorcycles, and under The Motorcycle Company’s (TMC), it has access to more.
With plenty of available inventory, Sarullo’s focus is on staffing and customer service. “Q2 really kicks off our riding season, so with that being said, I need to make sure we are in a position to provide exceptional service for our customers,” he says. “Staffing in every department is vital to the success of the store and keeps our customers on the road safely. We need to provide a premium customer experience to those customers looking to upgrade their motorcycle to a new or pre-owned Harley-Davidson.
Sarullo continues, “In parts and service, we need to provide our customers with safe, properly maintained motorcycles for them to enjoy throughout the riding season. Our MotorClothes department also plays a vital role in providing riding gear with the latest in safety technology.”
And providing excellent customer service and keeping staff levels up begins with company culture. “I run the daily operations of the store as a family environment because at the end of the day we are a team and family here at Stars and Stripes Harley-Davidson,” Sarullo says. “It is vital for me to keep everyone energized and excited with positive reinforcement and recognize their effort and hard work. We have a lot of fun and really enjoy providing a lifestyle for our customers that we all love and enjoy ourselves. Not only do our employees embrace the family culture but our customers do as well as seen with the tremendous turnout to our events.”