By Done Ward
CINCINNATI (May 2005) - When Robert Nolan and Greg Stith became neighbors in Villa Hills, Ky., it didnt take them long to find common ground. In fact, they took it one step farther they went into business together.
Harley-Davidson / MDA May 13-15
Friday, May 13: Carburetion Night
Open House at Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati, 1799 Tennessee Ave. 4-8 p.m. (EDT-fast time). Live music, refreshments, discounted race tickets for sale. 1-800-766-8909.
Saturday, May 14: Ride to Kentucky Speedway.
Register at 9 a.m. at Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati for a ride to the track. Ride leaves at 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, May 15: MDA-HOG Chapter Ride. Register at 10 a.m.; ride leaves at noon. 1-800-766-8909.
Directions: Take I-75 north to Cincinnati. Follow to Norwood-Lateral Exit 7. Turn right on Reading Road, left on Tennessee Ave.
Harley Giveaway Registration
Official registration forms are available at Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati at 1799 Tennessee Ave., in Cincinnati, or the Kentucky Speedway office at 2216 Dixie Hwy., Ste. 200 in Ft. Mitchell, Ky. Forms also are available online at www.harley-davidsonofcincinnati.com and www.kentuckyspeedway.com. Completed forms can be returned to those locations in person. Address mail entries to: Harley-Davidson Contest, c/o Kentucky Speedway, P.O. Box 176307, Covington, KY 41017-6037.
Entries also will be accepted at Kentucky Speedway on race day. No purchase is necessary to enter. Limit one entry per person. The contest grand prize is a 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster and one grand prize will be awarded. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age to be eligible to win.
Employees and immediate families of Kentucky Speedway and Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati, their subsidiaries, agencies and affiliated organizations are not eligible. Complete rules are available at Kentucky Speedway, Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati and through www.harley-davidsonofcincinnati.com and www.kentuckyspeedway.com.
In late December, the two bought the 90-year-old Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati dealership and began a venture that spans a large portion of southeastern Ohio, southwestern Indiana and north central Kentucky. Their dealership, located at 1799 Tennessee Ave., just off the Norwood-Lateral Exit 7 in Cincinnati, is more than a motorcycle store. Its a warehouse full of shiny, new Harleys, a service center for current owners and a virtual smorgasbord for lovers of anything Harley.
The 20,000-square-foot retail showroom of the 35,000-square-foot facility features an impressive array of Harley-Davidson motorcycle accessories, clothing, helmets, jewelry, hats, T-shirts, mugs, and the list goes on.
Its pretty amazing; they can put the Harley-Davidson name on just about anything, marvels Nolan, 40, a Ford car dealer owner who learned the trade from his father, John Nolan.
Nolan still travels back and forth between the Harley-Davidson dealership and John Nolan Ford in Cincinnati, but it is Stith who lives and breathes Harley.
Ive been riding motorcycles since I was 15, so for me this is like being a kid in a candy store, said Stith, 49.
Stiths love for motorcycles is obvious. His office bears the resemblance of a Harley-Davidson museum of sorts. It features a Harley leather couch, Harley refrigerator, Harley illuminated clock, Harley-themed Monopoly game, Harley leather jackets, Harley gas tanks, Harley antique posters... you get the idea.
Now this is a real office, he boasts.
Stith has a degree in marketing and spent his career working for such corporations as Drackett, Proctor & Gamble, Johnson Wax and Hillenbrand Industries. His love for motorcycles stems from an unusual source. My dad was in banking, so when the bank would repossess motorcycles, we would fix them up and re-sell them. I fell in love with them at an early age.
Photo by Don Ward
From left, Harley-Davidson of
Cincinnati dealership co-owners Greg
Stith and Robert Nolan pose in their
20,000-square-foot retail showroom.
Like most youngsters, he started out riding rice burners Hondas. But today, he only rides Harleys, the only motorcycle manufactured in the United States. The publicly traded company has led the U.S. heavyweight motorcycle market since 1986 and sold just less than half the heavyweight motorcycles in the nation last year.
Since Robert Nolan, chairman of the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers, was among the very first sponsors to sign up with the newly built Kentucky Speedway in 2000, it seemed a natural move to put the Harley-Davidson name on a race there in 2005. Thus was born The Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati 150 ARCA RE/MAX Series race, scheduled for May 14 in Sparta, Ky. The event opens the 2005 season for the 5-year-old track.
Only this event will be a little different, considering hundreds of Harley-Davidson riders plan to make their grand entrance at the Kentucky Speedway early that day as part of the show. Kentucky Speedway officials moved the race time up from 8 p.m. to 3 p.m. (EDT-fast time) to allow the motorcycle riders enough time to get home before dark after the race.
The riders will leave that morning from the Cincinnati dealership and ride with a police escort all the way to Sparta. They will gather and party in their own VIP area on the backside of the grandstand prior to the race.
Its going to be quite a sight when all those Harleys arrive, Nolan said. He and Stith plan to lead the pack atop a Harley-Davidson of their own.
Later in the day, some lucky person is going to win a brand new XL 883 Harley-Davidson Sportster, complete with a custom paint job sporting the colors and name of the Kentucky Speedway. The Harley-Davidson giveaway and ride are part of a three-day weekend of events that will benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
A Carburetion Night open house, complete with live music and refreshments, will take place Friday night at Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati, followed by the day at the track on Saturday, then the annual MDA Harley Owners Group (HOG) ride on Sunday, beginning and ending at the Harley-Davidson of Cincinati. The local HOG chapter is 250 members strong, Stith said.
Photo by Don Ward
An employee services
a Harley-Davidson in the shop.
Whats more, 10 MDA families from the Tri-State region with patients ranging in age from 6-16 will be invited to watch the days racing from the sponsors luxury suite atop the grandstand and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the relationship between Harley-Davidson and MDA nationally.
Tickets for the May 14 race are $35 but a discounted price of only $25 per ticket is available by calling Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati, with $5 per ticket sold going to MDA. To order discounted tickets, call 1-800-766-8909.
This is so exciting for us for these kids to be able to do something so special and so fun, said Annemarie Barnett, field representative for the MDA office of Greater Cincinnati. Harley-Davidson and Ford have been wonderful to let us go to a race and sit in their suite.
The MDA chapters Goodwill Ambassador, Corey Vaughn, 11, of Cincinnati will get to ride to the track in a Harley-Davidson sidecar, Barnett said.
This will be the 26th anniversary of the Sunday Harley-Davidson-MDA ride in Cincinnati. Its our largest fund raising event, Barnett said.
Although the new owners have yet to experience a full year of sales, they are pleased with the progress so far. More than 5,000 people attended an open house on April 9 at the dealership, Nolan said. And the dealership ranked third in the company for first-quarter 2005 sales.
Stith studies the demographics of Harley owners and said the median age is 46.
Photo by Don Ward
helmets come in all
sizes and shapes.
Women comprise 17 percent of our sales here, which is twice the national average, he said. For that reason, the store is hiring more female salespeople.
While its generally the 87-million-strong Baby Boomer generation the company is after, Harley-Davidson also is studying ways to cultivate a younger crop of future owners among todays 20-somethings.
Harleys range in a variety of styles and sizes, with a wide range of accessories and add-ons. The smaller sportsters start as low as $6,495, while the larger touring bikes can go as high as $17,900 for an Ultra Classic and $30,000 for a fully accessorized Screamin Eagle Electra Glide. Many of todays Harley owners want touring bikes for long, cross-country rides, Stith said. These are RVs on two wheels for those riders. They are taking vacations on their bikes, so they want two-way communication systems, large saddle bags for storage the works.
He says that for years, people have associated Harley-Davidson with American POWS and military veterans, but many of todays Harley riders are corporate professionals and retirees who have expendable income and have fallen in love with a new way to experience the open road on two wheels instead of four.
Call 1-800-766-8909 to purchase Kentucky Speed-way tickets for May 14 at a discounted priced of $25.