Reno Harley- Davidson/Buell – Reno, NV – Dec. 5, 2005

Reno Harley-Davidson/Buell
2295 Market Street
Reno, NV 89502
(775) 329-2913
John and Marci Crowell
John and Marci Crowell purchased H-D of Reno from Bud and Patty Evans in January 2004 and changed the name to Reno H-D. Prior to that it had been a 25-year-old dealership that the Evans owned since 1978. Reno H-D is comprised of four buildings: the main showroom, which includes general merchandise, over-the-counter parts and shipping and receiving, is roughly 10,000 sq. ft.; the service facility, constructed in 1997, is 15,000 sq. ft.; there’s a 8,000 sq. ft. warehouse, rental and Rider’s Edge classroom space; and a new 9,000 sq. ft. building for PDI, accessorization and collision repair, along with additional warehouse space. 52 full time and 10 part time employees.
“My greatest concern is legislation,” says Crowell. “There are factors out there outside my control and perhaps stretching the control of Harley Davidson Motor Company that can dramatically impact our business. And I think, side by side with that, macroeconomic things which could be driven by pure economic issues.”
“We actually sold all of the current allocation that was available to us. We sold everything. The Sportster sales came on fast and furious in the April-July timeframe once the season broke. Our FL products, dressers and Road Kings are extremely hot. Even our Buells are moving very quickly right now.
“I think that the dealership has to understand the spectrum of customers,” says Crowell. “They are coming in her and asking questions and they expect us to know it. And we have to have credibility behind our answers.”
“Emissions, noise, traffic accidents types of stuff set the tone for big issues that politicians respond to,” says Crowell. “If motorcycle traffic related fatalities were up or down, the press is going to make news of that, politicians are going to take that information and respond to it. Same is true with noise; same is true with emissions.”
“The parts side is probably about 15% of the business and the service side is probably just shy of 10% of the business,” says Crowell. “I made a commitment when I came here to the professionals in our service department that I was committed to building a world-class H-D service department. From a facility standpoint we’ve doubled our space. From a headcount standpoint we have increased our technicians from eight to 14. From an expertise standpoint we have gone from one master tech to five master techs.
“Thunder Press has been very good for us,” says Crowell. “It helps us communicate major events. We have a very comprehensive package with radio; we have partnered quite successfully with one of the TV stations here in town for a charity drive for Clothes for Kids; our direct mail program comes in a couple different flavors; and a Web site with about 2,500 subscribers. One of the things we do in the off-season is a product that we created called ‘The Game’. The Game recognizes that October through January the customers that purchase here will be granted points based on the value of their purchases and then those points are redeemed for gift cards.
“My job is to just go out there, stick to my knitting and be a good dealer,” says Crowell. “My advice to myself and to other dealers is that I need to go out and be a good dealer and stay out of their business. The lesson I’ve learned in the two years I’ve been here is to think strategically. You can never stop thinking about what it’s going to take to satisfy that customer.”
—Blake Stranz
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