Good story Dakez - In the early 70's I worked the parts counter PT at a store called Grand Prix Cycles. I was attending San Jose State on the GI Bill. It was the most fun job I ever had. It was a bit of a motocross race shop owned by Ian MacLachlan and a physics professor named Geoff Fox. After a few months they let me work the sales floor, which gave me an opportunity to earn a little more. The main line was Kawasaki, but we also sold CZ, Penton and Maico. I raced a little Penton Six Days. Life was good.
I had a little savings and Ian let me buy his Maico's to put on the floor (generally four at a time). This way he could use his floor financing to buy more high turnover Kawasaki's. The deal was: if I sold a Maico, I got all the profit, and if anybody else sold one I got half. It wasn't long before I built a following among the +30 class and +40 class racers. They were tradesmen and professionals alike. Older guys who grew up racing motorcycles and could finally afford to have new equipment every season.
It was a sad day in June 1975 when I graduated college and left Grand Prix to join a Wall Street firm. Meanwhile, Ian and Geoff split up. Geoff took our catalog business and renamed it Motocross Fox with the little foxtail logo we all remember.
I try and do all my business with shops like yours. The owners and the people they employ are the reason. We race with them and race against them. They never fail to scramble for us when we need help to make the next grid or next race weekend. They become our friends. People we want to hang with in the paddock or at the next Ducati unveiling event. I'm going to buy from my friends whenever I can.
Originally Posted by DAKEZ
I know, I am fortunate and actually love my boss/owner. I have known him since the mid-80's Not only is he very passionate about all things motorcycle... He is a great guy and lives his life above reproach. At his big store there are 65 employees +/- ... He pays himself $1/year for that dealership. No Joke. ONE DOLLAR.
2010 was not a very good year and the store was in the Red. 2011 we turned it around and this year we are continuing that trend and doing well.
I overheard someone ask George if it were true what he pays himself for such a large store? He confirmed it. The person then asked him why he does it. (?) I will never forget his reply: "I employ 65 full time people WITH benefits and do so by providing our customers with the Joy and Passion that only Motorcycles can bring... How cool is that!"
Here, catch a little of what George Latus is about here in this video, He comes on at about 50 second mark.
I would rather be dead than take advantage of or steel from a man like that. I understand that not all stores are like this... That some stores, owners and people working in the industry have somehow lost the passion along the way. For Team Latus (and MANY other good stores) It is still all about the riding!
Not because it is our "job"... We do it because we WANT TO! And as George says: "How Cool is that!"