Urban hipsters? H-D of NYC hits its mark
New Tribeca store location teeming with target audience
Editor’s note: Harley-Davidson of New York City celebrated its grand opening, and Powersports Business got the inside scoop on the new store via its sister publication, Thunder Press. Thunder Press North Edition editor Shadow spent some time with John Maguire, the general manager and parts manager, and owner/dealer principal Avi Jacobi during a VIP event at the store on the corner of Broadway and White in Tribeca the night before the New York City International Motorcycle Show. Shadow reports that H-D of NYC in Long Island City, Queens, will remain in its current location and will do all service work on bikes from the Tribeca location.
The storefront and side of the new Tribeca structure comprises two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows that allow passersby to see everything inside. The building’s glass-and-metal design fits right into the hip, yet historic, vibe, complementing the Greek revival and cast-iron architecture styles of this Tribeca neighborhood.
John Maguire, general manager and parts manager, said that H-D of NYC first decided to open a Manhattan store two years ago.
“As we were scouting around for a site, we said, ‘Wait a minute — we already have the perfect location!’ Owner/dealer principal Avi Jacobi owns this property. It’s a co-op building, and the David Z. shoe store used to be here, so we gutted it and built it up into a high-tech dealership,” Maguire said.
The building’s interior is simply stunning, with new Harleys lining the wall of windows on the left and a café on the right. Prominently ensconced on the coffee bar is a programmable La Cimbali espresso machine specially imported from Italy.
The 17,000 square-foot footprint is spread across two floors. A Power Wall, a touch-screen kiosk that allows customers to digitally design and view their dealer-customized bikes on a large movie screen set against the back wall of the first-floor showroom, is virtual H-D1 customization on steroids.
Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture worked with Avi’s nephew, Asaf Jacobi, H-D of NYC president and general manager, to develop the digital architecture. In fact, Asaf shared the concept with Harley-Davidson, and The Motor Company proposed to co-develop it with H-D of NYC. The Power Wall is the first of its kind and is intended to serve as a model for future Harley dealerships.
After the Power Wall demo, the staff unveiled six H-D of NYC custom bikes: the Sportster Glitter, a custom FXDB, Softail Breakout and FLHP Road King, a Sportster bobber and a V-Rod Muscle made into a touring machine. Each features the H-D of NYC logo styled after the iconic New York City subway token.
The lower level encompasses MotorClothes, footwear and helmets, the parts department and the main showroom. Every motorcycle is individually displayed with a striking wall mural of the New York City skyline serving as backdrop. There’s a glass-enclosed lift suspended between floors, which acted as a dais for the dealership’s checkered cab-style bagger during the event. In the future, when a customer buys a bike, the lift will be used to bring the bike up to the ground level.
Service expansion at sister store
But the service department is noticeably absent.
“This is the first dealership Harley has ever approved without a service department. They had to verify that Queens could handle two locations,” said Jim Maguire, John’s brother who also is service manager.
No service department? The folks at H-D of NYC have it all figured out. They offer concierge service: Customers can bring their bike to the Tribeca location and the staff will transport the bike to Queens to be serviced and then bring it back to Manhattan. Or, customers can just arrange for bike pickup and delivery.
“We had to expand the shop in Queens to 12 mechanics. Eventually every aspect of the Queens dealership will be renovated to complement the new store here. We want you to feel like you’re sitting in your friend’s living room while you’re waiting for your bike to be serviced,” Jim said.
Also on hand at the December event were representatives from Rivera Primo and S&S Cycle, along with a number of Harley-Davidson executives, including director of marketing experience Steve Piehl, senior vice president and global chief marketing officer Mark-Hans Richer, director of the young adult segment Mike Lowney, vice president of global integrated marketing Shelly Paxton, director of strategic marketing for North America Stacy Watson and field marketing manager Dan Mattias.
“We’re the only Harley dealership servicing Manhattan, and we will attract multiple segments given our location,” John Maguire said. “There are tour buses that come down Broadway. Tribeca is a hip neighborhood, and we’re hoping to get some young hip urban kids. It starts with a T-shirt from our T-shirt Loft, then a leather jacket from the Leather Lounge, then they throw a leg over a bike. And the courts are right down the street. Lawyers have been stopping by to find out when the store will open.”
It turns out that this is not a soft opening.
John says, “We’re hitting the ground running. We’re opening for business tomorrow.”
Marjorie Kleiman aka Shadow is the editor Thunder Press North Edition, a Powersports Business sister publication.