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Harley-Davidson of Clayton County

April 12, 2004
Filed under Features

OWNERS
Charles and Toweta Harrison

BUSINESS PROFILE
60,000-sq.-ft. dealership founded in 1977. Carries Harley-Davidson and Harley-Davidson-approved products (not Buell). 35 employees.

GREATEST CONCERN
“When your economy drops, so do bike sales,” says Carol Davis, promotions director. “But people always need parts, accessories, and clothing to go with their Harleys. Even if they can’t afford to purchase a new motorcycle, they’re in here to purchase something to go with it, or even to socialize. My main concern as promotions director is how can we target those who don’t realize that a Harley-Davidson is an investment, not just a purchase.

“As a teenager, I remember bikers being ‘the bad guys.’ Now you see more and more charities contacting the motorcycle groups — not just Harley — to help raise money. That’s what bikers are known for now. Harley people like to have fun, but we also like to help people who can’t help themselves.”

WHAT’S HOT?
Hot sellers at Clayton County include the Heritage Softail, the V-Rod, and all of the touring models.

CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“Our customers range from your average Joe to doctors and lawyers,” says Davis. “A guy has a little money, so now he wants a motorcycle. Or he has to invest somewhere, and he knows the motorcycle is worth spending his cash on.

“There’s no way of categorizing Harley-Davidson purchasers. They’re just people who know what they want — and know that when they put money into a Harley, it’s going to stay there. As an investment, it ranks right up there with a house. We have a lot of repeat customers, and folks from their early 20s to their late 80s.”

PARTS AND SERVICE
Clayton County has 10 mechanics — and 20 service bays. “We’re always looking for good mechanics,” says Davis. “We have to — because your shop area is where your reputation is built. Every mechanic we hire has been through the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute. It’s not worth getting a shade-tree mechanic.”

PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
“To promote our dealership we go out to different motorcycle-friendly bars and hold Bike Night, where everybody just has fun,” says Davis. “We give out door prizes with the dealership name on them to get people to the bar. We also throw parties for folks at our dealership, which is right on the main drag into the Southlake Mall area. When we have a party, people can’t help but stop in just to see what’s going on, even if they may not have ever stopped in here before. We’re right off Interstate 75, just south of Atlanta — which is another bonus.

“If we’re having a party, traffic overflows onto the exit ramp behind our store. People immediately say, ‘Let’s find out where that party’s at.’

“When the races come to town, we have a Pit Party at the dealership. There’s a promotional racecar in front of the store and a special sale for the weekend. We also run special direct-mail sales or e-sales for our customer base, trying to let people know that we care about them. If they voluntarily give us their e-mail address, then we don’t mind sharing special things with them This makes them say to their friends, ‘Look, they did this for me. If you give them your e-mail…’

“Our HOG chapter has 500 members. During operating hours they’re welcome to use our 5,000-sq.-ft. HOG Room, which has a kitchen, bathroom, and all the facilities.”

WORDS OF ADVICE
“Be honest with your customers, be fun, show them that you care, and show them the value of Harley-Davidson,” advises Davis. “We are the Best Little Harley House in Georgia — that’s our motto. We like to greet customers, we like to meet them, we like to know who they are. The more we know about our customer base, the better we can support them. There’s always coffee waiting. One person comes in every afternoon at 3:30, and one at 4:00, and they stick around until closing time just to chitchat. It’s a fun atmosphere and becomes a hangout. The friendlier you are with your customers, the more they’ll send people to you.”

CONTACT
1384 Southlake Parkway
Morrow, GA 30260
770/960-6000
www.h-dofclaytonco.com

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