Skip Fordyce Harley-Davidson changes hands after nearly 40 years

Publish Date: 
Oct 29, 2013
By Holly J. Wagner

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Skip Fordyce Harley-Davidson in Riverside has been sold to the Veracka family, who have changed the name to Riverside Harley-Davidson.

Brothers Michael and Paul and father Dave Veracka also own Rawhide Harley-Davidson in Olathe, Kan., Avalanche Harley-Davidson in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, Colo., and High Octane Harley-Davidson in Boston, Mass.

The family once owned Grand Rapids Harley-Davidson in Michigan, but sold that store to buy Avalanche in February 2010 and High Octane the following month.

“I’m excited to be serving the Harley-Davidson community in Southern California,” said Michael Veracka. “Our goal is to be famous for delivering a premium customer experience and I think we’ll prove that over the next year with our events, rides, bike nights, and more. Jay Dabney has done a great job and we look forward to building on the legacy he created.  The team Jay built while he operated the dealership is exceptional and we look forward to building on the expertise already in place,”

The Verackas plan to reinvigorate the dealership with “significant” inventory investments in motorcycles, riding gear, parts, and accessories along with increased dealership events and bike nights.

Fordyce general manager Glen Espinoza will continue in his position working with the existing team members, with plans to add up to 20 more employees.

The sale was first made public in a post on a Skip Fordyce Facebook page with the following message: “A new chapter will officially begin Wednesday October 30th for Harley-Davidson enthusiasts in the Inland Empire,” the webpage reads. “As some of you might have heard, the Dabney family, who purchased the dealership from Skip Fordyce in 1974, have accepted an offer to sell their interest in the business. As a lifetime rider and enthusiast, I can now say, the decision was difficult. I want to personally thank all of you for your support through the years and I would hope you will continue to support the new ownership in the future. You should be hearing from them very soon!”

Under Dabney management, the dealership was recognized as a Top 100 dealer nine times, including in 2002 for the best dealership exterior. The Motor Co. also recognized the store as a 10-time Bar & Shield Circle of Achievement Award, 11-time Winners Circle Award, 2006 Parts & Accessories Retailer of the Year-Western Region, and 2004 Vehicle Sales of the Year-Western Region.   

The Fordyce sale effectively ends a termination protest that the state initially found in favor of the dealer. The store was one of two Southern California Harley-Davidson dealerships that protested termination of their dealer contracts.

Fordyce and Laidlaw’s Harley-Davidson in Baldwin Park were threatened with termination in 2011. Both protested to the California New Motor Vehicle Board (NMVB). The Motor Co. contended, in separate termination actions, that the dealers were selling motorcycles to the gray market overseas and violating other retail policies.

In 2012, both dealers won their protests, although the board did impose conditions that put more rigorous controls on sales and allowed Harley-Davidson to more closely monitor the stores. (continued)