PowerSports Business

Powersports Business - May 25, 2015

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www.PowersportsBusiness.com INDUSTRY LEADERS Powersports Business • May 25, 2015 • 13 INDUSTRY LEADER — BRIAN KLOCK D iversification has allowed Klock Werks Kustom Cycles to continue a growth pattern that began, of all times, during 2008. Company founder Brian Klock saw the brand's first Flare windshields for the Harley- Davidson Road Glide get picked up for dis- tribution by Drag Specialties in 2006, and business was booming. But if anyone knows how business can turn on dime, it's Klock. In 2012, his company almost got bought out, but he decided while nearly at the altar to decline the offer. "They were going to let some of my peo- ple go and break up this team we have here, and I wasn't going to let them do that," said Klock, whose Mitchell, S.D.-based opera- tions hired two additional employees over the past year to grow its staff to 15. Alas, within months of that deal going sour, Klock's local bank also told him it was done as a financier. "I went in there with my accountant, and I thought we were going to consolidate these loans and talk about this, and I just got fired. That hurt like crazy until six months later when I found they fired peo- ple I knew who were doctors and lawyers, with crazy big money," he said. Up until then, Klock had prided himself on being the "idea guy" at his company, with No. 2 employee and now part-owner/COO Dan Cheeseman excelling on the financial side of the business. "I went back into the bank, and they said 'Here are the caveats we're going to put on you.' I'm a great designer, and I know I can do a lot of things, but what I suck at is money. Cheeseman is great at it. I'm not great at it. So when I say if it weren't for the 15 people here with this company that got us to where we are today, that it would be over, that's the truth." Over the years, Klock's business acumen has taken on a new life. In fact, when he was working the V-Twin Expo in Cincinnati earlier this year, Klock saw industry veteran Terry Vance nearly trip over himself when Klock kept firing some high-level industry econom- ics-type questions his way. "Terry told me two or three years ago that I needed to step into the next level, and I've been working at it, so yeah, that meant a lot coming from Terry," Klock said. The Klock family's drive for speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats continues, as does a passion for custom bike builds. Brian and wife Laura continue to make lives better with support of the Helping with Horsepower program for students, and daughters Erika, 24, and Karlee, 21, also are making names for themselves in their own ventures; Karlee as a bike builder and Erika as a business owner. Laura will shoot for more land-speed records this year at Bonneville. Klock Werks' 2015 catalog, with aftermarket parts for Har- ley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Victory and Indian motorcycles, is its largest yet. Among the highlights is the Flare Windshield for the new 2015 Harley-Davidson Road Glide. As one industry executive recently told Klock: "You know what I love about your brand? You guys bat a lot bigger than you are. Your brand swings a lot harder than you think in this whole industry, and for a group of 15 people, you're really affecting the way people do things." What is the biggest opportunity for the industry, and how can the industry take advantage of it? The biggest opportunity in the industry needs to be initiated by OEMs. When you look at SEMA, GM and Ford and Cadillac and Subaru and Toyota, they all go there and have mea- surement sessions before they release a new vehicle. As soon as their new vehicles come out, there are all these ancillary products that go with it. Not that your engineers aren't great or not that you don't deserve to make money on the accessories for your product, but the more you can embrace the aftermarket, the stronger your entire industry becomes. Look at like when they came out with the new Camaro or the new Mustang or the revival of the Challenger, and how many parts came out for those. Everyone said there would never be another 357 Chevy. Now they have events like LS Fest. Where did that come from? Who would have thought everybody would be transplanting fuel injection motors with all these crazy wiring harnesses and ECUs. The more that we become user friendly with each other, the better we're going to be. We need to lock shields for the industry, not lock shields against each other. BRIAN KLOCK KLOCK WERKS KUSTOM CYCLES PRESIDENT See Klock, Page 20

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