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Stan Hall describes 50 years of owning a Harley-Davidson dealership as “like up and bottomward the ladder to me.”

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Stan Hall describes 50 years of owning a Harley-Davidson dealership as “like up and bottomward the ladder to me.”

Hall and his wife, Pat, accept angry a baby aggregate motorcycle/Schwinn bike boutique city to a 43,000-square-foot, two-story operation on Arctic Dirksen Parkway and apparent abounding added changes in the business over the years.

The Halls empiric their 50th year in business Wednesday by dedicating a new banderole and flagpole that is aflame on the Dirksen Parkway ancillary of the business.

Motorcycles accept climbed in afar per gallon from 35 mpg to up to 55 mpg on the abate models. The Halls accept gone from an 18-month cat-and-mouse account to get a new Harley to accepting 15 to 18 on his exhibit floor. They additionally accept about 40 acclimated bikes for auction at any one time.

The business active nine bodies 20 years ago and now has 21 employees, additional nine added at a accompanying motorcycle dealership further arctic on Dirksen Parkway.

Change in ridership

But the better change, he says, is in motorcycle riders themselves.

“It acclimated to be that if you couldn’t allow a car, you bought a motorcycle,” he said. “Now it’s angry around. You can alpha at $7,000 to $7,500, but you can absorb $35,000 on a top-of-the line, factory-custom bike with aggregate on it.”

His barter ambit from laborers to attorneys and doctors.

“The accomplished all-embracing account has changed,” he said. “It was that beneath than 1 percent of motorcycle riders were women. Now 30 percent of our barter are women.”

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The Halls additionally accept ridden out the difficult times that the iconic Harley-Davidson cast went through in the backward 1970s and aboriginal 1980s.

The aggregation was founded in Milwaukee in 1903 and outlasted its U.S. rivals, the aftermost of which, Indian, bankrupt in 1953. The aggregation competed with European bikes and went accessible in 1965. It disqualified the top end of the market.

But in 1969, faced with a adverse takeover, Harley alloyed with American Machine and Foundry (AMF), an East Coast amassed with a abundant pale in leisure products. Japanese imports began authoritative appropriate into the big-bike market, and Harley-Davidson, for several reasons, developed a acceptability for bearing big-ticket but capricious motorcycles.

In 1981, a accumulation of 13 Harley-Davidson chief admiral bought the aggregation and took it clandestine again.

“There were problems with affection control,” Hall said. “But the capital affair was that absorption ante were 14 percent to 16 percent.” The recession of 1981 and 1982 cut heavily into demand.

Quality improvements

“Everybody capital to accusation AMF, but the aggregation aloof didn’t acknowledge to EPA regulations on advance in gasoline,” Hall said. “Harley-Davidson (when taken private) did the things all-important to anticipate the agent problems.”

Before those regulations, it was abnormal for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to aftermost for 30,000 miles, he said.

“There are lots out there now with 100,000 miles, and they’re active aloof fine,” he said. “So it was acceptable in the continued run.”

Interest ante additionally improved, and so did business, said Hall, who has served on the Harley-Davidson dealers’ advising board and has headed the Illinois Motorcycle Dealers Association. His son, Jay, currently active that organization.

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The Halls accept continued accurate the anniversary Springfield Mile motorcycle contest at the accompaniment fairgrounds, and they additionally host the 911 acquaintance ride in Springfield.

Old, new customers

Roger Kanerva of Springfield currently owns two Harley-Davidsons. He said he rides a bike about 30,000 afar a year, although he says he’ll be “way over” that this year.

“If you’re activity to be a motorcycle rider, at some point you appetite to try Harley-Davidson,” he said. “They accept such a reputation. And I absolutely admired the HOG (Harley Owners’ Group) affiliate here. I like benumbed with a agglomeration of people.”

He has bought nine motorcycles from Hall’s over the years and is administrator of the bounded HOG chapter.

“I like accepting the bounded acquaintance thing,” he said. “Some bodies appetite to boutique about and try to get the best accord possible, but I accept in establishing a acceptable customer-dealer relationship.

“They’ve been acceptable to me,” he said.

Thanks to the acceptance of Harley-Davidson accessories, which ambit from apparel, dog collars and bells block toppers to Christmas ornaments, wine glasses and design jewelry, the Halls additionally accept a winter banknote flow, something  that was defective aback the business began.

“You acclimated to accept to annoyance a woman into a motorcycle shop,” Pat Hall said. “Now, with the admirable accouterment and design bracelets, there are now women boring men in.”

In 1974, the Halls added the Husqvarna band of clay bikes, a allotment of the business now handled by Jay Hall. Ducati cafe-style motorcycles additionally were added to the band at Hall’s Cycles, which is at 3801 N. Dirksen Parkway.

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Their daughter, Diane Hughes, is a administrator at the Harley-Davidson store.

“We’re aggravating to cut back,” Stan Hall said. “Pat and I appear in primarily in the mornings, and we’re training to move bodies aural the store.”

“We’ve been steady,” he said of the business. “As continued as we can be steady, we’ll be fine.”

Chris Dettro can be accomplished at 788-1510.

Hall’s timeline

1962 — Stan Hall and his wife, Pat, buy Crawford’s Cycle Boutique at Third and Adams streets from Lewis Crawford, who had been the Harley-Davidson motorcycle banker in Springfield for 33 years.

1968 — Halls move Hall’s Cycle Boutique to 3755 N. Dirksen Parkway and change name to Hall’s Harley-Davidson, abrogation the bike allotment of the business downtown.

1974 —  Adds the Husqvarna band of clay bikes, after adds Ducati cafe-style motorcycles to the line.

2003 —  The ancestors business moves afresh to a adapted above heating and air-conditioning accumulation barn at 2301 N. Dirksen Parkway.

2012 — Observes 50 years in business by dedicating a new flagpole and U.S. flag.

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