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Most in the industry are suffering from the down economy, but life is good at Black Diamond Harley-Davidson in Marion, Ill.

The three-year-old dealership announced Monday it leads the world in total bike sales year-to-date.

It’s also No. 1 in the state and No. 4 in the nation when it comes to new bike sales, Harley-Davidson’s district office told The Southern.

"We thought we'd be successful, but No. 1 in the world? We never thought we would achieve that," co-owner Rodney Cabaness told the newspaper.

While the national sales average is down about 40 percent, Black Diamond sales are up 20 percent over last year.

"We're affected by the economy just like everyone else. Harleys are a luxury item that people don't really have to have, but they've done a great job of selling through this economy. In every aspect of the business, they are up - parts, service, bikes, clothes. They are doing a terrific job," Harley District Manager Joe Rock told the newspaper.

The dealership has grown from 14 employees to 54 and has expanded twice, adding a 33,000 sf building at the end of 2008 and tacking on another 5,000 sf to its main building earlier this year.

While roughly 70 percent of sales are local, the dealership has become a destination for out-of-area customers, co-owner Shad Zimbro said.

"So far today, we've sold bikes [to customers from [Kentucky, Indiana and a couple in Illinois," he said Monday. "We've gotten our name out there. People know this is the place to go."

Especially if looking for favorable terms. Among the more interesting items the dealership has accepted for trade-in are a horse, land, a house and a fighting rooster.

Posted by Holly Wagner