When Alfred and Maritia Keeling purchased the Longhorn Harley-Davidson dealership in 2005, they had big plans to make the Grand Prairie, Texas, store a success. Their plans have paid off; in only their second year of ownership Alfred and Maritia received the Harley-Davidson Motor Company 2007 Vehicle Sales Dealer of the Year for the Plains Region, besting other dealerships across central United States.
As part of their dealership purchase, Alfred and Maritia agreed to locate in a more suitable property. Their 15,000 sq. ft. existing building was jammed with motorcycles and products, with no room to grow. The storage and service areas for the motorcycles were extremely limited as well.
“We looked into expanding the store first,” said Alfred Keeling. “But we quickly realized that it would be better in the long run if we moved to a new location altogether.”
As of July 4, Longhorn’s new home is a 38,000 sq. ft. custom-designed building just 0.25-mi. down the road from its previous dealership. Bob Moore Construction was the design-build contractor for the new Longhorn Harley-Davidson dealership. The architect was Avant Design Group Inc.
The building’s interior is finished in a rustic Texas design, with stone, wood and chemically-distressed corrugated metal accents and Lone Star décor throughout the building. Enhancing the rustic feel, the wood used for interior design accents came from a 100 year-old barn in Wisconsin.
While the décor is old, the building features the newest in retail technologies. The main showroom features multiple LCD panels that show video clips and product information that are downloaded by satellite from Harley-Davidson’s corporate offices every day. The main sales area provides twice the space of the previous building for the display of motorcycles, sportswear and gifts and collectibles. Sales offices line the front of the main showroom and a large parts display space showcases various customization options for bike owners.
Next to the sales area is the service center with a parts warehouse and 25 independent service bays. The service area includes a wash rack and a dynometer, a computerized diagnostics system that provides the most detailed and accurate readings for engine tuning in the industry.
A second floor showroom offers a more private shopping opportunity, an enclosed setting with windows overlooking the main showroom and space for dozens more motorcycles on display. Also on the second floor are several storage rooms, administrative offices, employee break room and the HOG room, a relaxation area for Harley Owners Guild members, complete with pool table and sofa. The two floors are connected with an elevator and a grand staircase in the center of the store.
“We have received so many comments about the building, our customers saying how fabulous it is,” said Alfred Keeling. “There were many aspects of the building that were important to us. We wanted to stick with the Texas theme for the décor. We wanted to make sure we had maintenance free flooring that would last. I want this building to look as good ten years from now as it does now. It was important to make sure the layout flowed well and we used the space efficiently. One of our main priorities is service and the new service area is tremendous. I’m ecstatic with it and the employees think it’s a dream come true.”
“You can’t help but be excited about a project when you’re working with enthusiastic clients like Alfred and Maritia,” said Curt Hellen, senior project manager of Bob Moore Construction. “I think their excitement was a motivator for everyone who worked on the project. That was important because we really needed everyone to pull together to complete this job on time. Longhorn had a very specific date they had to move out of their old facility by. Unfortunately, we experienced one of the rainiest springs in local history, which caused us to lose 20 percent of our working days to weather. Our Site Superintendent Greg Dalhaug did an excellent job of leading the subcontractors to overcome the rains. With their hard work we hit every project milestone set during the design phase and completed the building in 125 working days, in time for Longhorn to meet their deadline.”
“We couldn’t be happier with Bob Moore Construction,” said Alfred. “Curt is very detail-oriented and he has the respect of his subcontractors. Ed McGuire [vice president of construction] and Greg Dalhaug both did a great job as well. We had to move in on time and they made it happen. This building was a dream of mine and I’m very proud of how it turned out. The ultimate compliment I can give is that in two years when we get ready to build another new dealership, I already know that Bob Moore Construction will be doing it for us.” CEG