How Bedford Got High on the Hog
Adam Smith doesn’t like the idea that he’s a salesman, even though his Bedford Harley-Davidson shop moves more hogs than about 98 percent of the other licensed dealerships in the country. The word “sell” makes him recoil.
“If you help someone to buy, they will never feel sold,” he says. “So take ‘selling’ out of your mind. I’m not trying to sell you anything. You want what I have, whether it’s a bicycle, whether it’s a motorcycle, whether it’s anything. My job is to help you facilitate getting what you want.”
And thus begins the relationship between Adam Smith’s Texas Harley-Davidson and the customer. A fan of two-wheel rides since getting his first bicycle at the age of 4, Smith wants to provide an all-inclusive experience for those who are interested in what he has to offer.
Sure, there are motorcycles and vests and helmets and gloves. But Smith, who bought the Harley dealership from his father in 2011, also provides riding lessons. He organizes group rides to Colorado. He hosts events with nearby businesses. Smith wants his dealership to be a social place where his customers feel comfortable visiting, even in those years when they don’t upgrade their bikes.
That way, when the Texas Department of Transportation decides to rip apart neighboring State Highway 183, he doesn’t have to worry about declining sales. “If you give your riders enough reasons to fight through the construction, they will,” Smith says.
For anyone who has driven that stretch of the Mid Cities in the past two years or so, it’s natural to be skeptical of that statement. However, Smith says his is in the top 10 Harley dealerships in terms of service, finance, and sales volume in the United States. There are 696 total stores, according to Harley, which declined to offer any specific data or rankings regarding sales volume of its licensed locations.
Soon, Smith will be one step closer to his dream of owning one of the world’s largest Harley shops. He has snapped up six acres next door, where he plans to consolidate his current operation—a three-building, 40,000-square-foot setup that houses sales, service, and administrative offices—into a new structure that’s nearly double in size. It’s scheduled to open in late 2015, and Smith says he hopes Harley corporate execs would feel comfortable describing it with a word like “flagship.”
“When they point to spots that they’re proud of and say, ‘They do it right over there,’ when they point at Dallas-Fort Worth,” Smith says, briefly pausing, cracking a smirk, “that is doing it right.”