An automotive-repair store owner talks shop about building strong relationships with customers, business goals and ‘going to look for America’ on his motorcycle.
Business: Big Lake Cycle
Location: Superior, Wisconsin
What’s your favorite thing to do on the clock?
It’s dealing with customers, really. I like to talk with them. Everyone that rides a motorcycle has stories: about riding, situations that have come up on the road. I get a kick out of listening to them and telling them my own stories. I have been riding for a long time, so I have some stories, too.
What is your proudest moment as a small business owner?
Knowing that we did good work. I’m really proud of that. I like when a Harley rolls out of the door and knowing that my mechanics have done a good job. Some shops will hit you hard when you come in. They try to grab all they can the first time. I’d rather treat the customer right and get them to come back multiple times. So I try to make sure the customer is aware of what’s going on. I keep them in the loop and call them when I figure out what’s going on. I tell them, “I won’t spend any of your money until you tell me to spend it.” They seem to like that.
What have you not yet achieved that you would like to?
I want to own a part of our country. I want it so I don’t have a lot of competition in the area. People are touchy about their motorcycles. They find someplace they like and go back there all the time. If you have a motorcycle, snow machine, wheeler, and it needs repair—I want you to automatically think of us. I want to own this part of the country.
What does owning a business allow you to do that most folks do not get to enjoy?
I like having the freedom to come and go as I need. I work long hours. Yet, I can take a day off here and there when I need to. I love motorcycles, and I like being able to get out and ride. I hit the back roads and cruise. I call it “going to look for America.”