Winter Solstice Letter:
Reflecting on 2018
Greetings on the Winter Solstice 2018. As many of you may remember, it was a long tradition of my farming family in Pennsylvania to send out a letter on the Winter Solstice each year with updates about happenings throughout the year such as crop yield and new machinery. We have continued the tradition with our annual letter that lets all our Ocean State H-D family know what we have been up to in our thirtieth anniversary year and what we have planned for the New Year.
We earned the Gold Bar & Shield Award from Harley-Davidson Motor Company for 2017 and as part of the recognition, Dana and I enjoyed a Spring time incentive trip to Argentina. We extended the trip and went on to Tierra Del Fuego, Cape Horn, and Patagonia. There were a few bikes in Tierra Del Fuego just finishing the Pan-American Highway trek. H-D introduced in August their new Adventure Tour bike for Model Year 2020 release and now we can picture where they may end up on their journeys.
In addition to the future models H-D announced, we were excited to welcome the Model Year 19’s in August with a new radio, more 114 engines, new Trike suspension, and some great colors! We have continued settling into our new showroom in Warwick this year, refining our displays and collecting a few more antique props. One of our goals for the year was to become better at Merchandising and I believe we have succeeded; rotating our displays more often and creating very special monthly displays. One of our Vignette (yeah I had to look that word up too!) displays even won a national H-D Motor Company Retail competition! We also concentrated on carrying extended sizes from Extra Small to 5X and have increased our business in those items. Exeter has embraced the challenge of providing the best selection in the space allowed.
HDMC weathered a storm this year with the tariff conversation. The general public and many folks on social media still seem to labor under the misconception that H-D was moving all production overseas which is certainly not the truth. Harley-Davidson assures us all production of motorcycles for the United States will be made in the USA and they have been actively ramping up the York, PA plant for the new year.
We continue our focus on training our staff, both on product knowledge and how to provide a better experience for our customers. We want to give people a reason to visit and shop with us, a real brick and mortar family business. Our main marketing outreach this year has been through social media, really growing our following on Facebook and Instagram and striving for quality posts. Reaching those folks looking online is critical to our success. We would like to capitalize on this in 2019 by listing our dealer logo items on a few online sites as well.
Our events calendar was full this year. Featured products, educational demos, and the adventures in the event trailer with the OSHD Rhode Team were just part of the fun. Special Olympics of RI joined us for our Summer Cruise In Car and Bike Show in July in Warwick with the Cop on Top program, and it was hot on that roof! The annual ride for Gloria Gemma was a success in August and in 2019 celebrates it’s tenth anniversary. Back by request, Exeter held a Cruise Night and despite the weather, it was a decent turnout. We plan to add more small demo days in 2019 including a Fairing Faceoff event comparing the Road Glide to the Street Glide. The Ocean State Chapter Harley Owners Group has already printed a First Quarter events calendar and has new momentum to keep the chapter very active. The Exeter shop will be celebrating their Fifteenth Anniversary in 2019, stay tuned for more information on those festivities. We are still striving along with everyone in the motorcycle industry to reach new riders and build new riders. Our collaboration this year with CCRI to provide the Basic Riders Course was a great success. We hope to hold more of these throughout the riding season next year.
We are incredibly lucky to have the best people working with us at both our stores. Our staff experience, longevity, and attitude is a great asset and it is really evident this time of year when they all pitch in to help make bows and do lots of gift wrapping! It is our great pleasure to have served you all these past thirty years and we look forward to continuing our relationship in the future. It is our sincere hope that our collective core values, enthusiasm for the H-D product, and love of the open road will let us continue this great tradition. We wish you and your family peace and joy in the new year.
Amy and OSHD’s lovable misfits.
Click below to see our 2018 Photo Gallery: