Dealership group expands to four locations with acquisition

After 15 years of ownership of the growing business, a pair of dealership owners have decided to sell the operation to a dealership group that has grown to four locations with the acquisition.

Here’s the scoop from Performance Brokerage Services…

Performance Brokerage Services, North America’s highest volume dealership brokerage firm, is pleased to announce the sale of Open Road Harley-Davidson of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, from Pete Johnson and Lori Thiel to Matt Chiappetta and Bruce Miner.

(From left) Bruce Miner, Pete Johnson, Lori Thiel and Matt Chiappetta at the Fond du Lac dealership.

Pete Johnson and Lori Thiel met by chance at Sturgis. They both had careers in the finance industry and shared a love of the open road. In 2007, they acquired Open Road Harley-Davidson and merged their professional backgrounds with their passion for motorcycle riding.

The couple quickly recognized that being customer focused and elevating the overall dealership experience would set them apart. Thiel created a monthly event for fellow female riders that featured different types of motorcycles, customizations, parts and accessories, and the proper service required. These events were a huge success and created a lot of excitement for new female riders.

Over the years, the dealership stayed true to the core values upon which it was established and built a community of riders that knew they would always be treated fairly when visiting the dealership.

Selling the dealership was a monumental decision for Johnson and Thiel, and they wanted to ensure the next owners would continue the legacy they were riding away from.

Following the sale, Thiel commented, “We first met George Chaconas of Performance Brokerage Services at a Harley-Davidson annual dealer show many years ago. George was very experienced, and we were always impressed with his professionalism. When the time was right to sell, how we went about selling our dealership was as important to us as who would become our successors. Staying in touch with George and his Associate, Courtney Bernhard, was beneficial in so many ways with their great knowledge of the Powersports business and being well-networked. The favorable introduction to the buyers of our dealership resulted in a great fit for our market and our succession plan. Courtney was onsite at the closing and made sure the entire process was fluid and seamless. We strongly recommend this duo of high-integrity professionals if you’re thinking of buying or selling.”

Over the last five years, Performance Brokerage Services has advised on the sale of over 250 dealerships, making it the highest volume dealership brokerage firm in North America. In 2021, the company consummated 72 transactions, marking a record-breaking year.

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George C. Chaconas, the exclusive advisor for this transaction and the head of the National Harley-Davidson and Powersports Division for Performance Brokerage Services commented, “I first met with Pete and Lori nearly seven years ago. I visited them at Open Road Harley-Davidson and discussed the preparation of selling their dealership. We attempted to go to market briefly, but realized the timing wasn’t right as Pete and Lori and weren’t fully ready to exit. Several years later, after realizing there was no strong succession plan in place, they decided to sell. I had been in contact with Matt Chiappetta and Bruce Miner over the years, and they were looking to partner and acquire a Harley-Davidson dealership in their home state of Wisconsin. The timing worked out perfectly and we were able to reach a fair and equitable agreement for both parties. Having a realistic seller combined with highly motivated and qualified buyers enabled us to execute this transaction in a very timely fashion. I appreciate the opportunity to have represented Pete and Lori, while helping Matt and Bruce grow their Harley-Davidson dealership group.”

Matt Chiappetta and Bruce Miner were longtime industry professionals and friends. They both knew that when the opportunity to own a Harley-Davidson dealership in their hometown presented itself, they could not pass it up. The duo partnered to acquire Open Road Harley-Davidson, bringing their total dealership count between them to four.

Chiappetta and Miner look forward to expanding upon the strong foundation Pete and Lori have built, while bringing onboard new energy and practices to make Open Road Harley-Davidson an even more amazing place to visit.

Chiappetta stated, “George Chaconas of Performance Brokerage Services reached out to me about the possibility of expanding our Harley-Davidson dealership business. Having known George and being in the business for years, he was the go-to guy and knew I wanted to buy in Wisconsin. In a very short period of time, George identified Open Road Harley-Davidson and the rest is history. I would like to say thank you to Courtney Bernhard and George Chaconas at Performance Brokerage Services for helping provide a smooth transaction and look forward to George and Courtney helping us continue to grow.”

The dealership will remain at its current location at 24 South Rolling Meadows Drive in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Pete Johnson and Lori Thiel were represented by Andy Rossmeissl of Herrling Clark Law Firm in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Matt Chiappetta and Bruce Miner were represented by Anastassia Dambrouskaya of Sandberg Phoenix in Kansas City, Missouri.

2022 Dealership Transactions as provided to Powersports Business

January 2022

Addicted Powersports - Buys Cycle City Wyoming (WY)

MOMS – Buys Enfield Motorsports (CT) and Valley Motorsports (MA)

Hot Metal Harley-Davidson closes (PA)

Indian Motorcycle St. Paul – Buys Bison Thunder Motorcycle (MN)

Zia Powersports – Adds Lone Star Powersports (TX)

Storm Lake Honda – Buys Schuelke Powersports (IA)

RumbleOn – Buys RideNow Beach Boulevard (FL)

February 2022

Ken and Joe's Powersports acquired (CA)

Four Corners Harley-Davidson and Four Corners Powersports acquired (CO)

March 2022

Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson closes (CO)

Pocono Mountain Harley-Davidson acquired (PA)

Shelton's Harley-Davidson acquired; second location closes (NC)

Doc's Harley-Davidson sold (MO)

April 2022

Big Island Harley-Davidson closes (HI)

Open Road Harley-Davidson sold (WI)