Powerball winner buys Harley-Davidson dealership

Dayton Business Journal – by Tom Demeropolis

Buckminn’s Harley-Davidson in Xenia has new owners.

David Coterel Jr. and Jason Dennis purchased the motorcycle dealership in December and plan to increase the dealership’s sales and prominence.

“We want to become a premier dealer through excellence in customer experience and service,” Coterel said.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the dealership’s building was purchased for $1.75 million. The real estate purchase was financed by National City Bank, which is now a part of PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

The name of the dealership has been changed to reflect the new ownership, to Buckminn’s D & D, for Dave and Dennis.

Coterel, the dealer operator and majority owner, won a $314.3 million Powerball lottery drawing in 2007 along with his father, David Coterel, and his sister, Lynn Hiles.

He said he decided to use some of his winnings to buy the dealership because he began riding a Harley-Davidson and became passionate about the bikes.

Dennis, president of Beavercreek-based Dave Dennis Auto Group and the No. 1 Chrysler dealer in Ohio, is the minority owner. Coterel said he will draw on Dennis’ experience with auto sales and marketing to help increase business at Buckminn’s D & D.

To help improve the Harley-Davidson experience at Buckminn’s D & D, Coterel and general manager Rod Smith said they plan to increase the number of events the dealership hosts. Events will include group rides and demonstration days, where anyone licensed to drive a motorcycle can take a Harley for a ride.

The goal is to have an event every month.

To let people know about the dealership’s events, Coterel said he plans to spend additional money on radio advertisements, though he did not disclose how much.

“Whatever it takes to penetrate the market,” he said.

The owners also are making strides to increase sales. While Coterel would not disclose exact figures, he said the dealership traditionally sells about 200 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles each year, but sales were down in 2009 compared to 2008.

A new Harley-Davidson motorcycle can range in price from about $8,000 to more than $20,000.

The dealership is facing a bit of an uphill battle on a national level. Through the first nine months of 2009, Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc.’s new motorcycle revenue was down 19 percent to $2.62 billion, compared to $3.23 billion in 2008. Retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles decreased 25.5 percent in the U.S. during the same time period.

Smith, who’s the son of the former owners, will stay on in his general manager position. He said to gain more customers, the dealership will look to convert people who own motorcycles, but don’t own a Harley-Davidson.

Smith said the dealership’s goal is to increase sales by 15 percent this year.

The 20-employee dealership will not see many structural changes because Coterel said it’s a good building. He would like to open up some areas, so there is more interaction between customers and employees.

There are three other Harley-Davidson dealerships in the Dayton area, including F and S Harley-Davidson in Vandalia, Mid-Ohio Harley-Davidson in Springfield and Gover Harley-Davidson Inc. in Piqua.

Tracy Gover, owner and general manager of Gover Harley-Davidson, said bike sales may be down overall, but Harley-Davidson continues to gain market share. So even though fewer motorcycles are being sold, a larger portion of the bikes being purchased are Harley-Davidsons.

Gover said she’s hoping sales increase from 2009, but would be happy the dealership was able to maintain last year’s sales level.