IT WAS almost too good to be true: one of motorcycling’s most impressive and best-loved legends becoming the 2009 Dealer of the Year. But it indeed happened last evening at the Indiana Roof Ballroom, when Malcolm Smith and his team won the top prize at the 18th annual Top 100 Awards.
Mr. “On Any Sunday” and his family took home the coveted crystal trophy for running a dealership of “staggering quality,” according to this year’s Top 100 judges.
Frieze Harley-Davidson of O’Fallon, Ill., was named first runner-up. Owner Jenny Frieze – who graces the February cover of Dealernews – and her team received commendations for building a new facility that is eco-friendly, architecturally striking and economical to operate.
Milwaukee’s House of Harley-Davidson and Powersports of Joplin in Missouri tied for second runner-up; while Central Texas Powersports in Georgetown took third runner-up honors.
Merit Awards were given out in the following categories:
- Best Customer Service Initiative – RideNow Powersports Tucson in Arizona, for giving customers access to the general manager’s cell phone number to solicit feedback.
- Best Community Involvement Program – Shenandoah Harley-Davidson/Buell, Staunton, Va., for hosting the Freedom Relief Ride series, which offers a free trip to the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., for WWII veterans and other select guests.
- Best Dealer to Work For – Ducati Omaha in Nebraska, for hosting company-paid track days for its employees.
- Best Promotion – Canadian dealer V.I. Honda, Nanaimo, B.C., which partnered with a national dental supply company to hold a mini-trade show for the dental industry inside the showroom, exposing the dealership to a new customer base.
- Best Media Campaign: Direct Mail – J&L Harley Davidson, Sioux Falls, S.D., for its Eagle’s Eye newsletter.
- Best Event – Pikes Peak Harley-Davidson, Colorado Springs, Colo., for its Making History promotional event involving three other area dealers.
- Best Service Department – Great Bay Motorcycles, North Hampton, N.H., has a range of customer service programs, including free scooter delivery to new owners’ homes (so they can practice riding in their own neighborhoods rather than testing their skills on the highway from the dealership).
- Best Use of Space – Bend Euro Moto in Oregon, for effective display of five vehicle brands in a 8,300 sq. ft. space.
- Best Exterior – A.D. Farrow Co. Harley-Davidson, Sunbury, Ohio, winning this award for two years in a row.
- Best Media Campaign: Radio – Malcolm Smith Motorsports for what judges called a “hilarious” personal watercraft radio ad.
- Best Display – Canada’s Gear Head, in Ottawa, Ont., for a simple yet extremely effective (read: fun but non-threatening for new riders) scooter display.
- Best Use of Theme – Bayside Harley-Davidson, Portsmouth, Va., for is Navy-themed store.
- Best Website – Beartooth Harley-Davidson/Buell, Billings, Mont., for a “simple, information-forward design,” according to judges, that incorporates an interactive map of the surrounding area and the owner’s two other dealerships.
- Best Independent – All Pro Motorsports, Waukesha, Wis., which, judges said, resembles an old-time motorcycle shop with a modern retail attitude.
- Best Media Campaign: TV – Mike’s Cycle World I and II, for their “Gas Saver Man” commercials (note: GM Perry Vincent, aka Gas Saver Man, was featured on the February 2008 cover of Dealernews). The Top 100 winners’ galleries are on display through Sunday at the Lucas Oil Stadium, and through Monday at the Dealernews booth in the main lobby of the Indiana Convention Center.