On a joy ride

Columbia Motorcycle sees significant growth at new location

Since Columbia Motorcycle has operated in its present location, the Harley-Davidson dealer has powered ahead of the competition – like the bikes they sell. Columbia Motorcycle has operated in Clark County since 1944. The shop made its third location change five years ago from Fourth Plain Boulevard to near Highway 99 and 99th St.

Jennifer Kreofsky-Rodgers and husband Jason Rodgers are third-generation owners of Columbia Motorcycle. Kreofsky-Rodgers’ grandfather, Emil Kreofsky, started the business at Fourth Street and Columbia Avenue in 1944, and her father James Kreofsky ran the business after him. James Kreofsky still hangs out at the shop. And while the two generations sometimes butt heads, when they combine the old way and the new way, Kreofsky-Rodgers said things work out for the better.

The move allowed the business to upgrade from 6,000 square feet to 16,000 square feet and gave it better visibility along Interstate 5. Jason Rodgers attributed much of the growth the business has experienced since relocating to its visibility and improved image. Rodgers said customers were intimidated by the old "chopper-shop" feel of its previous location.

The new building was designed for a sales volume of about 100 bikes per year. Columbia Motorcycle expects to sell about 350 bikes this year. A 3,000-square-foot building has already been added to the property to accommodate the growth and a second 3,000-square-foot building is planned for the site by next summer.

Columbia Motorcycle has been a Harley-Davidson dealer since its inception. But, it added other makes when Harley-Davidson went through a tough period in the 1970s and ‘80s. In the ‘90s, "Harley-Davidson kicked into high gear and has not slowed down," said Rodgers. Motorcycles have become more mainstream, he said. Columbia Motorcycle has outfitted everyone from lawyers to priests. In particular, women and minorities now make up a large portion of its customer base.

"The big boom in the last five years has been our female clientele." But, said Rodgers, "It’s getting to be for everybody."

Columbia Motorcycle sells new and used Harley-Davidsons and also does fleet sales to police and fire departments and the military. The shop has a service and parts department and features Harley-Davidson’s ex–panding apparel line. Bikes represent the largest source of revenue, followed by parts, clothing and service.

Bikes range from $6,700 for a basic model to $22,000 for the high-end Ultra model. The average is about $13,000 to $18,000, but a dizzying array of add-ons can significantly raise the cost of a bike.

Revenue has leveled off at about $8 million in the last couple years, and it is expected to remain relatively flat in 2006. Columbia Motorcycle has sixteen employees.

The Rodgers say their business is fun, but when it gets hectic they go out on the road and do some "product testing" to relieve the stress.

Columbia Motorcycle Harley-Davidson Dealer
1314 N.E. 102nd St. in Vancouver
360-695-8831
www.columbiahd.com
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday,
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Monday, closed Sunday

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