Milwaukee Dealer Takes Second Runner-Up Award During Top 100 Ceremony

admin

Owner: John Schaller Location: Milwaukee, Wis. Store Size: 48,500 sq. ft. Vehicle Brands Carried: Buell, Genuine Scooter Co., Harley-Davidson URL: www.houseofharley.com

House of Harley-Davidson is one of those dealerships that seem to get gold stars in all areas. Located just a stone's throw away from The Motor Co., HOH has taken the marque and made it its own.

It all starts on the sales floor where new salespeople are put through the store's refined sales process before they ever get to the customers. And it doesn't stop when the closed sign is lit up; salespeople are tasked with selling Harleys around the clock, whether at an offsite event or in the evening during a launch party. Service and parts employees are cross-trained so that there is always someone around to fill an empty slot.

The dealership's back shop operates on lean-manufacturing principles that evolve so HOH can refine the service process. Fifteen service techs, who are trained above and beyond what Harley-Davidson requires, tend to 34 lifts. The department is also home to the stores' Fast Lane service which caters to customers with limited time and focuses on select services that can be performed in under an hour.

Dealer principal John Schaller says the main objective is to offer value to customers without providing a discount. Since the service was launched, the store has seen an increase in labor sales, new work orders and parts sales.

House of Harley capitalizes on its proximity to Harley's worldwide headquarters. The store hosts dozens of events — a fact requiring it to have a three-person marketing staff. For Harley's 105th anniversary, HOH launched an integrated media campaign: The radio coverage ran on two local stations for two weeks and aired more than 100 spots; and ads blasted across seven digital billboards, in Thunder Press magazine and out to more than 4,750 e-mail addresses. The results? More than 75,000 people crowded the street that runs in front of the dealership, and browsed among 90 vendors, listened to 12 bands, watched two bike shows and one bike build, and scarfed down on fare from food and beverage sellers. HOH received permission to close the street to regular traffic for eight days just to accommodate all of the people.

When the dealership isn't hosting events, Schaller rents it out for events ranging from small gatherings only in the showroom to large parties in the whole facility. The store has hosted events put on by the Better Business Bureau, American Concrete Pipe Association and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, and even a wedding reception.

— Dennis Johnson