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Indy West Harley-Davidson/Buell – Plainfield, IN – Feb. 10, 2003

February 10, 2003
Filed under Power Profiles

Indy West Harley-Davidson/Buell

CONTACT
6201 Cambridge Way
Plainfield, IN 46168
317/279-0062
Web site under construction

OWNERS
Mark and Mike Forszt

BUSINESS PROFILE
The Forszts own four dealerships: 24,000-sq.-ft. Indy West Harley-Davidson (founded in November 2000), Harley-Davidson of Kokomo, Harley-Davidson of Michigan City, and the oldest —Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso, founded in 1997. Carries Harley-Davidson and Buell. Approximately 25 employees.

GREATEST CONCERN
“My greatest concern is the bad rap that not only Harley riders get, but all motorcyclists,” says Doug Stellhorn, general manger. “I still meet people who have never been into a motorcycle store because they think outlaws run the place. People who walk into our multi-million-dollar dealership say, ‘Wow! This is a Harley store? This is a motorcycle store?’ Sometimes the media plays on this feeling. If a motorcyclist gets in a wreck, the media talks about whether he was wearing a helmet or if drinking was involved.”

WHAT’S HOT?
Road Kings and Fat Boys are Indy West’s most-sought-after models, while Motorclothes and Screamin’ Eagle performance parts sell well.

CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“I can’t say we have any typical crowd that comes into Indy West,” says Stellhorn. “We see everything from the suit-and-tie guy to the factory worker.” Stellhorn has been with the Motor Company for 13 years at different dealerships. “We’ve seen a lot of bikes being financed, then more bikes being bought with cash, and now we’re back to financing. A lot more women are purchasing motorcycles than in the past — that’s probably the biggest change.”

ANTI-POWERSPORTS ISSUES
“We can’t sell motorcycles on Sunday in this state,” says Stellhorn. “It has been a law forever.” The Indiana Motorcycle Dealers Association is addressing it.

PARTS AND SERVICE
Indy West’s Service Department floor has an orange Rhino lining (like pickup truck beds). “This is a state-of-the-art dealership,” says Stellhorn. “We’re one of three Harley dealerships nationwide that run two service shifts — five Technicians during the day, and four on third shift. A guy can drop off his bike on his way home from work, then pick it up the next morning. We try to offer no waiting for oil changes, tire changes, and accessory installation. We also have one service manager and two service writers.” The parts department is open seven days per week and has three full-time and three part-time employees.

PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
The 200-member Indy West HOG chapter meets once per month. The dealership belongs to the Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau. “We do fundraisers, poker runs for local charities, and runs for the MDA,” says Stellhorn. “To get children excited about reading we’re doing a program with the local schools.”

WORDS OF ADVICE
“Harley’s producing more motorcycles,” notes Stellhorn. “When you talk to dealers right now, some of them are getting a little nervous, because they have inventory — and they’ve never had it before. In the Midwest we face this every year because of riding’s seasonality. My advice? Hang in there — it will pick back up. Will it get back to where it used to be? Who knows.

We’ve been riding this wave for quite some time, but it’s a high-quality product and I look for Harley to continue to be strong in the years to come.”

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