819 North Miami Boulevard
Durham, NC 27703
Shelton and Sharon Davis
Three stores in North Carolina: 45,000-sq.-ft. Shelton’s Harley-Davidson (Goldsboro), founded in 1989; 15,500-sq.-ft. Shelton’s Harley-Davidson Mall Shop (Smithfield), founded in late 1999; and 12,000-sq.-ft. Shelton’s Durham Harley-Davidson/Buell (Durham), founded in May 2003. The Smithfield dealership is two facilities—one sales, parts, and service, the other MotorClothes and accessories. Carries Harley-Davidson and Buell. 60 employees.
“My greatest concern is that Harley-Davidson keep revamping the product — not necessarily changing it as a whole, but putting out new products,” says General Manager Kenny Peedin.
“Harley has done a really good job this year — there are a bunch of brand-new parts that people have typically had to go to the aftermarket for. I think that’s going to bring back a lot of customers, because they have the Harley name and are typically good products.”
Is the year after a major anniversary a good one for new-unit sales? “Yes,” says Peedin. “This was different than any other previous anniversary year, because we really only had three colors to work with. Harley did that so everybody could get an anniversary motorcycle, whereas in previous years they built numbered editions.
“As always, the Softail and touring lines are our number-one sellers,” says Peedin. “That’s true of the Softail line since it came out in the mid-1980s, but in the last five years the touring motorcycles have really taken off: the Road King Classic and the Electra Glide Classic.
“Buell redesigned its motorcycles last year, and they are just starting to come into their own. Magazines have given the Buell great reviews and sales are starting to pick up.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“Harley tells us us that the average age of our customer is in the mid-40s,” notes Peedin. “But we are starting to see younger people, which is what we need for the years down the road.
“Women buyers are about 10% of the total. I think with the Internet and more accessibility to information, a shopper now is more aware of the product when he comes in,” adds the GM, who joined Shelton’s in 1999.
“Some people do not know anything, but we see more who have been on-line to look at the differences between bikes. Now everybody — salespeople, parts people, etc. — really have to be up on their game. When they come into a dealership, customers are expecting employees to be the experts, and that’s what we should be.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
At the Durham store Peedin has five parts personnel — four full-time and one part-time — and three service technicians.
The techs go through Harley’s PhD training program. “We like a tech to work in the shop for one to one-and-a-half years before we send him to Harley-Davidson to further his training.”
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
HOG chapters meet at the Durham and Goldsboro stores. “Smithfield and Goldsboro are only 22 miles apart, and we are worried about starting one at Smithfield and cannibalizing our Goldsboro people,” notes Peedin. The Durham store has not yet had an open house.
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Pay attention to those customers,” advises Peedin. “You don’t want to give away the store, but customer satisfaction is what it’s all about. Just listen to the customers’ needs.”