Power Profiles

Bikers Dream of Atlanta – Alpharetta, GA – Feb. 12, 2007

Bikers Dream of Atlanta
5960 Atlanta Highway
Alpharetta, Ga. 30004
Don and Marilyn Parkinson
If there ever was the perfect place for a custom motorcycle enthusiast, Bikers Dream of Atlanta just might be it. The custom-only shop carries bikes from American IronHorse, Big Dog, Wild West, Viper, Rucker Performance, Swift and Hard Bikes and is the longest-running American IronHorse dealer in the country. Don Parkinson spent much of his career working for corporate America, retiring more than 10 years ago as an executive at a major company. A lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, Parkinson couldn’t pass up the opportunity for an adventure when a small aftermarket place was going out of business nearby. He and his wife Marilyn started out with a couple accessories lines and a 6,000-square-feet store. It wasn’t until later that they started bringing custom V-twins to the Atlanta area. Business kept growing, so they moved to a two-story, 24,000-square-feet building. On the upper floor, there’s storage room for extra parts and a special showroom for the upper high-end bikes. Parkinson credits V-twin TV shows with boosting custom bike popularity and traffic to the store, but the dealership does a lot to promote itself to customers and the industry, taking part in the V-Twin Expo, the Dealer Expo and two prominent local motorcycle shows.
Sales were noticeably slower last fall than in previous years. That got Parkinson’s attention, although he hasn’t been able to figure out any specific catalyst for the drop. Whatever it might be, he just hopes people will continue to have a passion for bikes and a desire to ride, that nothing would hold them back from riding if they so desired. “If there’s anything out there that would keep people from riding, that would be a concern to me,” Parkinson said.
Though Bikers Dream only took on Big Dog a year and a half ago, it, along with American IronHorse, is one of the dealership’s top sellers. During the past several months, Parkinson has noticed one month, everybody’s interested in AIH bikes, the next, Big Dog. It’s an odd phenomenon, one that perhaps, Parkinson said, can be traced to what gets covered in various custom cycling publications.
Customers seemed to be hesitant about making an acquisition in the custom bike market from August through the end of 2006, Parkinson said. Although some say the economy has slowed, Wall Street’s calls of a strong economy made him wonder who was right. The dealership made it through the extremely sluggish fall and early winter and has noticed a strong up tick in sales in January, which Parkinson sees as a positive sign.
Bikers Dream is one of the few S&S-certified shops in the Atlanta area and is working on becoming fuel injection-certified. This year, the service department is concentrating more on performance upgrades and doing different work with powertrains. Every service tech is a fully certified V-twin tech, in addition to whatever other certifications they might hold. The department has garnered enough respect that some manufacturers have sent the shop bikes that have been problematic to repair.
Web logs are an excellent communication tool used by the public through sites like Blogspot and manufacturers, like Ducati’s Desmoblog. Rarely is it a venue dealers have ventured into, but Bikers Dream has. Parkinson says the dealership is still working out some bugs with it, but it’s part of the dealership’s Web site where loyal and new customers can learn about what the dealership is up to and catch a glimpse of daily life at a bike shop.
Be confident in the brands you carry, Parkinson advises. Also, ensure staff techs are well trained and make sure they stay that way by providing them access to continued training. Servicing customers the way they need to and should be serviced also should be a dealer’s top priority, he said.
— Lisa Young

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button