Dealer group sees growth, younger riders
With consistent customer interest and positive sales trending halfway into 2017, Calculated Risk Motorcycle Group is looking forward to a successful year. The dealership’s flagship Texas Harley-Davidson in Bedford, Texas, operates as the largest Harley-Davidson dealership in the state at 72,000 square feet.
“Foot traffic has been pretty steady year-over-year. We’re up slightly on transaction counts, which is bucking some industry trends, where foot traffic and transaction have fallen slightly, so our slight plus, I view as a pretty big win,” said Neil Noble, Calculated Risk Motorcycle Group’s partner and everyday casual hero. “We’re up substantially in business year-over-year out of our Bedford location, which is very positive for us.”
The group now has seven locations throughout the Lone Star State: Texas Harley-Davidson in Bedford, Texoma Harley-Davidson in Sherman, Harley-Davidson of Waco in Waco, Roughneck Harley-Davidson in Longview, Lumberjack Harley-Davidson in Nacogdoches, Texarkana Harley-Davidson in Texarkana and Lucky Penny Cycles in Bedford.
With the Texarkana dealership, Noble said that the dealer group has been given more business growth opportunities in service and in parts and accessories. An experienced MotorClothes manager and outside training have laid important groundwork for what Noble says will be potential for future business.
“Over this past year we’ve been really devoting a lot of training and resources. We’ve seen tremendous growth, but I think we’re still a long way from seeing what that market can do. The area in our dealer-assigned territory around the store is pretty big. It’s full of folks that love to ride and folks that love Harley, and we’re excited to provide them the service they deserve,” said Noble.
Along with expanding certain areas of its business, Calculated Risk Motorcycle Group opened its first exclusively pre-owned motorcycle dealership, Lucky Penny Cycles. The dealership is located across the street from the flagship store in the former showroom space of Texas Harley-Davidson.
Noble said the pre-owned market had been in mind for some time. “Sales have been strong. There’s not a large overlap between our customers at the Harley store right across the street, and it’s developing its own customer base,” he said. “It’s about creating a different type of experience.”
In the next few weeks Lucky Penny will launch a line of branded clothing available online and in-store, with plans to expand the brand next year. Lucky Penny’s general manager has experience working with Harley-Davidson and metric bikes, which Noble said has aided in the transition to the pre-owned market. “We’ve been trying to react to what customers like and bring in things that sell well, and it seems to vary a bit throughout the year, but as long as it’s on two wheels we’ve been focused on it, and our customers seem to really like it,” he said.
This new pre-owned market often includes customers who are not regularly coming into dealerships, which means less of an event focus and more of a streamlined sales process for Lucky Penny.
“In the pre-owned motorcycle segment, we want to provide the best experience that you can have, but the goal is for it to be a very quick and easy process to buy a bike,” Noble said. “[Our customers] want financing, and they want the benefit that the dealership provides, but they don’t necessarily want that kind of big dealership experience. They want it to be very quick and easy, and that’s what we focus on at Lucky Penny.”
On the other hand, the dealer group continues to host multiple events per week at its Harley-Davidson locations and has also increased its social media presence to gain the attention of younger riders. The dealership’s connections on Instagram and Snapchat have contributed to sales, while rides such as the Screw It, Let’s Ride event are getting more young riders involved.
“We just try and make the showrooms as welcoming as we can for those folks and host events that bring them out. What we’ve found with younger people is that they like being a part of the Harley-Davidson lifestyle. They may not be engaging with the H.O.G. chapters or those sort of things, but they love to ride and hangout at events in the store,” Noble said.Community outreach remains an important cornerstone of Calculated Risk Motorcycle Group’s daily operations. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the dealer group organized a 72-hour bottled water drive at each of its seven Texas locations. Noble said the response to the drive was overwhelming, and the dealerships will continue to help flood victims in any way they can. “A lot like how the motorcycling community is really strong and takes care of one another, Texans 100 percent take care of other Texans. It’s a unique state, and when you combine those two things, the response is going to be strong,” Noble added.
The dealership group has undergone major changes in the past two years, but overall, its commitment to customers and branching out into other markets is giving this dealership group a positive outlook. “Last year we had a lot of expansion, and this year there has been a focus on our existing stores,” said Noble. “We’ve been making changes and doing a lot of training to make sure that we have the right people in the right positions and to build the stability and depth that will allow us to grow in the future.”