New York Harley dealer revives with events, hosts 'Too Broke for Sturgis' party

Publish Date: 
Jul 15, 2013

KINGSTON, N.Y. – It was a big change for former investment broker Bill Nugent when he took over Woodstock Harley-Davidson a little over a year ago. Now he’s making changes at the dealership.

Nugent took over the Woodstock Harley franchise from founder Jan Dordick under Nugent’s new Cutting Edge Motors shingle. Now he’s getting ready to renovate and rebrand. He says the overhauled store will have a “Woodstock Industrial” theme, with exposed ceilings, organic building materials and shiny new bikes and gear mixed with tie-dye and peace symbols.

The recession took its toll on the business as Dordick was winding down. Events dwindled along with sales. After buying the dealership, Nugent has started holding events again and has a full schedule for July and August, including a July 20 Rock & Rumble concert, an Aug. 10 “Too Broke for Sturgis” day, a Dream Ride kickoff party and regional ride benefiting the Special Olympics, and a ride from West Hurley to Milwaukee in late August.

“I’m reaching out to the local music scene just as I’ve employed local artists, including Ron Nadel of New Paltz, to make this all work,” he told the Woodstock Times. “It’s Woodstock, after all. You can’t do it without music and art.”

Weather permitting, the dealership has a weekly “Grillin’ & Chillin’” event all summer with free hotdogs, chips and music. The events make the dealership a popular destination. Sixty percent of Woodstock Harley’s customers are local residents, 20 percent weekenders, and the rest are out-of-area clients. And 85 percent is repeat business.

“A buddy of mine on the West Coast did a Google search and found that Woodstock Harley T-shirts were selling for top dollar on eBay in Europe. We get visitors from Italy, England, and have made it a point to come here,” Nugent explained. “Now we’re offering up seven motorcycles for rent and giving people a half dozen routes to take when they’re visiting the Hudson Valley and Catskills. People fly in from California and Germany to take up the offer, riding through the Catskills to the festival site in Bethel Woods, or up to Saratoga and the Adirondacks…We’re building it back up, showing everyone we’re what we used to be.”

Posted by Holly Wagner