It all started as a hobby with a used 1965 XLCH. Rode it 3000 to 4000 miles a year. Seemed like a lot, but it's like a trip to the grocery store by today's standards.
Found a never-been-sold 1968 XLCH and customized it in the basement. Word spread and Vern was soon customizing bikes for friends, and even buying a few to fix up and sell. Suddenly, we were businessmen. How'd that happen?
The basement was getting smaller and smaller, so we bought a small Harley-Davidson dealership in Rock Falls. All we needed was inventory. Banks didn't like Harley-Davidson back then, but we turned on the charm and got the loan. How could they resist our winning smiles?
Following 2 days of meetings at the factory and 2 weeks of service school for Vern, the doors were open. The only thing missing was the mayor with a giant pair of fake scissors to cut the ribbon.
Finally sold a bike in April. And we thought this would be easy. We bought the dealership so that Vern could quit "working", but he ended up staying at his "real job" for 15 more years.
Time for our first major move. We bought a building and remodeled it, our home away from home for the next 14 years. We made sure it had comfortable chairs.
Things were really taking off and we were outgrowing the building. Where to next? It came to us while sitting at Hooters while at the dealer convention in San Antonio. All around us, dealers were talking about building new dealerships. We thought, "why not us?" So we grabbed a napkin and started drawing plans. There must be something about Hooters that sparks creative thinking. Probably the wings.
Back home, we purchased six acres and visited the new shops around the area. Believe it or not, it was a new Wal-green that most inspired our building's design. Vern and Tom designed the service area while Jane worked out details for the showroom. Eight months later, we moved in. But we're still waiting for the mayor and the big scissors.
Business continues to be great and "Workman Plaza" on Harley-Davidson Drive is thriving. Thanks to everyone for your patronage, but most of all, your friendship and encouragement. We've came a long way since the days in the basement, but we still consider it a hobby and a labor of love.
Vern & Jane Workman
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