New Harley-Davidson dealership opening in N.M.
Scott Fischer Enterprises adds second store in Albuquerque
Scott Fischer Enterprises has had its sights set on opening a second store in Albuquerque, N.M., since before the Great Recession. In fact, there was an approved SRL (Secondary Retail Location) that accompanied the deal when SFE purchased the old Chick’s Harley-Davidson in Albuquerque in 2005, and the ownership group had purchased land for the second store by 2007.
But shortly after the purchase and subsequent renaming of Thunderbird Harley-Davidson, the SFE braintrust thought better of its decision to build.
Economic times, alas, have changed, and SFE will open Duke City Harley-Davidson in Albuquerque, with a grand opening scheduled for as early as March.
“We had plans drawn for the second store and had it in front of the city of Rio Rancho, which is where it was going to be, for approval, and that’s when the economy started taking a bit of a twist,” SFE partner John Green said. “So we pulled back from that. Now, seeing what’s happened with our remodeled Thunderbird Harley-Davidson store and the growth out there, and Harley and ourselves realizing that the size of the market really needed more facility to adequately and appropriately service the market, we’re excited to have Duke City Harley-Davidson opening.”
Duke City, with a 12,000 square-foot facility, will be located about 10 miles from its sister store, which is 26,000 square-feet. The new store was built to provide more retail space for motorcycles, parts and accessories, and will also offer more service bays for customers in need of motorcycle maintenance or repair.
“We found a spot, and Harley was on board. It’s been circling around out there for many years. It was timing and location and Harley’s willingness to get back on. Harley had put a moratorium on those secondary retail outlets for several years; they just weren’t doing them. They went through a downsizing of the dealer body, and now they have the right number they’re comfortable with, so they’re going back into some growth areas,” Greene said.
There’s plenty of reason for optimism for the new Duke City store. Greene said Thunderbird is coming off a year in 2013 that was the most successful since SFE bought the store in 2005.
“The remodel sparked some life, and the change in the layout gave us better customer amenities and flow inside the store, but it’s also a very, very strong team, from a personnel standpoint,” he said. “It was a really good year.”
The additional retail space at Duke City figures to make the buying experience more pleasant for customers. Greene expects the new store to employ 20.
“Our stores in Fort Myers and Thunderbird do similar units and overall dollars, and Fort Myers is 45,000 square feet,” Greene said. “Thunderbird has such a density of people inside it. It’s tough on employees and customers. Duke City will give us more service capacity, and we’ll be adding up to eight more technicians out there, in addition to the showroom space for motorcycles. It spreads that density over a couple of points, which makes it more comfortable for everybody.”
It also provides the company with a location in a highly trafficked area alongside Interstate 40. Thunderbird sits near but not on Interstate 25, allowing easy access from the city’s two major highways. General manager and assistant manager of Thunderbird, Sean Delaney and Karen Henz, respectively, will oversee Duke City as well. The stores will also share the local Turquoise Trail H.O.G. Chapter.
“The location is definitely part of the appeal with Duke City,” he said. “We’re very excited to have something that has interstate frontage and signage and so forth, because we really don’t have that in that market.”
As for unit sales, Greene was particularly impressed with the Rushmore lineup in 2013, and anticipates strong sales of the Street 500 and 750 models in 2014.
“The Street models will give us, for the first time, a middleweight motorcycle to sell,” he said. “We don’t even know what the potential is for that segment right now. We’re optimistic, that’s for sure.”
Greene said while SFE stores “were up everywhere in 2013, Fort Myers and Thunderbird really had breakout years. They exceeded what we had projected for them, so that was very exciting. There’s a lot of good energy right now, but just like everybody else, you get to the end of a good year and you wipe the board off and you say man, we gotta beat that.”
Scott Fischer Enterprises owns and manages six Harley-Davidson stores in four states: Alabama, Florida, New Mexico and North Carolina. Scott Fischer Enterprises was a member of the inaugural Power 15 and Power 50 dealer selections by Powersports Business.