Meet the Attendee: New Castle Harley Davidson - Bill Bomberger, Owner
New Castle Harley Davidson – New Castle, PA
Bill Bomberger – Owner
37 Years Attending
How long have you been coming to the show?
Believe or not, I have been coming to the show since 1972. I was just a teenager working at a Harley Davidson shop the first year I came to the show. It’s funny; the basis of the show hasn’t changed a whole lot since then. Of course, there used to be a lot more parting associated with the event, and now-a-days it seems the show is more business oriented. But hey we all had long hair, listened to rock music and that was appropriate for that time. Now we are focused on our businesses so it’s good to see the show changing with the times.
What kind of things are you looking for when you come to the show?
The show is spring training for me, I use the show to get motivated and I look for any merchandising ideas that I can bring back to my store. When I use to race I used it to make connections with any product we might need to support our team. We also use it as a reason to meet up with other individuals we needed to see. The show gave us a good platform to discuss details and fine tune contracts.
On a personal note, I have always liked gear… any aftermarket gear. I’m not bias in my business to just Harley and I like to see exactly what the industry outside of the Harley market is providing. Don’t get me wrong, I still buy a lot of Harley Davidson product, any HD dealership is going to do that. As an HD dealer you got to take advantage of the brand and support the factory but knowing what’s on the market is what helps me make the best decision possible. Even if I don’t purchase non Harley product for my store, I try to be aware of what’s being offered and what I’m up against. Having this awareness allows me to figure out what customers are buying in general. That information influences what I might want to sell to my customers. Sometimes I find things at the show that are not Harley but will sell well and I buy them. But by seeing what’s out there it helps influence what products I might want to stock in my purchases with Harley. Don’t let them tell you it’s not all connected, every market influences the others.
In my opinion, if you don’t know what’s going on outside of the Harley industry you can’t run your business properly. Especially in with today’s market, it’s much more important to be aware of what’s going on the entire industry. Since I go every year, that’s not a concern of mine but if was a Harley dealer who hadn’t been coming to the show in the past, this might be a great year to reconsider.
Outside of products are there other things you find at dealer expo?
I always hook up with other friends, old friends and other Harley Davidson dealer‘s I don’t get to see very often. Expo is sometimes the one place I can see these people every year. Even companies I do business with, I don’t always get to see them in my dealership so it’s nice to say hello. I’ve been in this industry a long time so I know a lot of people, but as the industry grows its harder to keep in touch. I like that I can see those people when I’m at the show. And this isn’t just a quick shaking of hand or an after hour’s party; we actually sit down and talk business when we are at the show.
Dealer Expo has always offered great ideas to help you understand how to display your items, mixing and matching products to give it the right appeal for your customers. This could be as simple as the way pipes are displayed or how a bike is dressed or the combination of products for kits. Just because it’s a dirt bike product or a sport bike product doesn’t mean the display concepts don’t work. At least with Dealer Expo I can get a well rounded feel for how things are being sold, that crosses over in any market. Anything I might see that I think can help me change my dealership up, I’m going to see at Dealer Expo.
How many days do you generally spend at the show?
I always spend at least 1 and 1/2 days but 2 if we need the time. Because I’m in the Harley market I don’t need as much time. I still have people I need to meet with, and companies to be discovered but it allows me enough time to get the job done a lot quicker. Being as close as I am it’s pretty easy to drive out. We always start at one corner of the show and work our way across. I know who I want to see and where they are and we try to hit them as we make our way through. Of course, we always look the whole show over first then we go back and hit up the companies that really caught our eye, that’s when we get into the meat of things and gather additional information or try to negotiate.
Have you taken advantage of any of the Educational Seminars?
In the past I have always took advantage of the education. Last year I only had a day to spend, so we didn’t have time to attend any of the seminars. However, I’m hoping to catch some of them this year… any idea is a good idea if you can make it work in your business.
If you could offer advice to your peers what would your suggestion be?
I have known some dealers that go to the show and some dealers that don’t go to the show. The guys that don’t go, that are Harley Davidson, just don’t think they have any reason to be out there. They say that it is all aftermarket. You and I know there is plenty of Harley Davidson product offered at the show, but it’s not just about Harley product it’s about understanding your market as a whole.
Although I believe it’s important that you attend your own manufacturer shows, if you only do that show you are limiting yourself as a dealer. By going to Dealer Expo your opening your mind up to the entire industry, ultimately your niche is just a small part of that entire marketing, so I think it’s important you support it and use it to your advantage.